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Prominent former police chief witnesses light rail stabbing, tracks suspect

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A St. Paul city council member and former well-known police chief is being credited with witnessing a stabbing, then tracking the suspect.

The Pioneer Press reports William Finney, the interim St. Paul council member for Ward 7, saw a fight on the Green Line light rail platform on Thursday at University Avenue and Lexington Parkway.

The 66-year-old witnessed one man appear to stab another, according to the paper, then tracked the suspect from afar as he fled, giving update to authorities via 911.

A 17-year-old male suspect was arrested, KSTP reports. The 25-year-old stabbing victim suffered non-life threatening injuries.

Finney, also known by the nickname "Corky," became Minnesota's first black chief of police after being named to the spot in 1992, MPR News reported.

He had worked there for 21 years, serving as a patrol officer, investigator, community projects leader, and more, according to a case study prepared for the Urban Institute.

He was also lauded for his community policing efforts, and the department's adoption of community-focused policies, the case study says. He's credited with opening up the department to more minorities, women and citizens as well.

He retired from the department in 2003, after more than 30 years there.

In February of this year, Finney was named to the city council, filling the spot that opened up when Kathy Lantry went to the Public Works Department, MinnPost reported. He's agreed not to run for the seat in the November election.

Ward 7 comprises the Dayton's Bluff, Mounds Park, Battle Creek, Highwood and Scenic Hills neighborhoods.

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