Edina mayor, council apologize over police treatment of black man in video

Around 150 people crammed into an Edina City Council meeting to make their feelings known about last week's viral video involving a black man and a police officer

The mayor and other Edina city leaders have apologized to a black man over an incident caught on camera last week when he was confronted by a police officer for walking in the street.

Around 150 people crammed into an Edina City Council meeting Tuesday evening where more than three hours of public comments were heard after the controversial developments involving Edina Police Lt. Tim Olson on Xerxes Ave last Tuesday.

Footage of part of the incident was taken by an onlooker, which showed Olson grabbing 34-year-old Larnie Thomas by his jacket and reprimanding him for walking in the street as he avoided a construction zone, with Thomas swearing at the officer in return.

The video, which you can watch below, has been viewed more than 14 million times.

The city has rejected calls to suspend Olson for his actions, but did say it would work to improve police training. And Mayor Jim Hovland was among those who offered apologies at Tuesday's meeting, which you can watch here.

Speaking to a commenter, Hovland said: "When you said, 'You should give him an apology,' that's the appropriate thing to say, and I think I'm going to meet him [Larnie Thomas] face-to-face because it's one thing to sit up here and another thing to tell him face-to-face. That will be my first act."

Council member Bob Stewart also apologized, saying at the meeting: "I think we can do better. I will say to Larnie Thomas, I'm sorry," he said, adding, "we will work to have it not happen again."

'Disgust' over man's treatment

At the start of the meeting, Hovland sought to avoid arguments about whether the actions of both Thomas and Lt. Olson were right or wrong, saying: "We know we could do better as a community and we know the officer followed protocol, but when you see the video tape, regardless of who you are, it's disconcerting."

The first person to speak at the meeting was Cathy Jones of the Minneapolis NCAAP, who said they were "absolutely disgusted" by the video, adding that Thomas was "treated like an animal."

"I hope you will change your mind and he [Olson] will be suspended," adding that the kinder gestures shown toward the end of the video were "merely because he realized he was being taped."

Some residents disagreed with Hovland's insistence that Olson followed protocol, with speaker Carol Overland, formerly of Edina but now living in Red Wing, saying: "I am an older woman of white privilege and I am appalled that this is happening and I think every other white person in this room has an obligation to dig into this. "This is protocol? No, this is not protocol. Show me the protocol, because if it is then this has got to be changed."

Mayor Hovland did say that the city had asked the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) to carry out an investigation into the incident, but the agency declined.

The citation issued to Thomas by Olson has been dismissed, though.

Next Up

Pixabay - crowd park outdoors CROP

New forecast predicts more than 4 million Twin Cities residents by 2050

The Met Council believes job opportunities will also steadily grow.

Mike Zimmer

Zimmer on unvaccinated players: 'Some of the things they've read are just, woof, out there'

The coach says he's doesn't understand why some players won't get vaccinated.

Ramsey County - Karina Her booking photo crop 2

Charges: St. Paul woman killed ex-husband, buried him in her back yard

A woman is accused of fatally shooting her ex-husband and burying him in the yard.

Screen Shot 2021-08-02 at 8.02.46 AM

Riverview Cafe in south Minneapolis closes, plans to 'reassess' its future

The cafe and wine bar was open in the Longfellow neighborhood for 23 years.

Pixabay - camp food fire

Bear sightings prompt food storage mandate up north

Visitors to the forest and BWCAW will be required to 'properly' store their food.

covid, vaccine

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, August 2

The delta variant has been leading to higher case counts and hospitalizations in Minnesota.

Bloomington Walmart

Customers reportedly flee after scare inside Bloomington Walmart

People ran believing it was gunshots, but police say it was actually fireworks.

Racket website screengrab aug 2

New alt news site from former City Pages editors launches this month

Racket will be supported through a reader subscription model.

Flickr - Grand Canyon National Park - bison close-up

Dakota County to reintroduce bison to the area next year

The bison will be introduced to Spring Lake Park Reserve near Hastings and Rosemont.

Smoke and haze Minneapolis

Where to expect wildfire smoke in Minnesota on Monday, Tuesday

After a brief weekend break, the poor air quality will be back to start the week.

John Cena

John Cena surprises fans at Twin Cities screening of 'The Suicide Squad'

The entertainment superstar was in the Twin Cities for two purposes Friday night.


Police, BLM at odds over video showing suspect beaten by officers

A video showing a man being struck with punches and elbows as he was arrested by officers has come to the attention of Black Lives Matter, but police say it doesn't show the full story.

Activists block streets in Edina, demand officers be disciplined

Activists took to the streets Saturday afternoon to protest police brutality.

NAACP calls for change after video of 'dehumanizing' arrest of a black man

The man was walking in the street before being arrested by an Edina police officer.

Family releases video of black man fatally shot by police in North Carolina

Keith Lamont Scott's family has released video footage of the officer involved shooting.

Video: Castile's family talks about the 'landmark decision' to bring charges

Philando Castile's family supports the decision to charge the officer Yanez with second-degree manslaughter.

Minneapolis police to halt low-level marijuana stings at mayor's request

It comes after a downtown sting operation overwhelmingly targeted black suspects.

Black pedestrian arrested by Edina officer is suing him, the city

Larnie Thomas says he was "maliciously discriminated" against.