St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman isn't too happy with the board of the St. Paul police union, saying it has "embarrassed" the police department for "too long."
The St. Paul Police Federation board this week apologized after it accused Melvin Carter III, who is running for mayor of St. Paul, for not cooperating with investigators after he had two guns stolen from his home over the summer.
But the apology wasn't good enough for Mayor Coleman, who released a statement Thursday calling on the board's resignation, saying "the time has come for new leadership who understand that their role is to build bridges, not deepen divides."
"The racist attacks and hollow apologies of the last two days may have been aimed at one candidate, but they affect all people of color, and all people of character," Coleman said.
Coleman, who isn't seeking reelection but is running for governor in 2018, has had a rather rocky relationship with the police federation, the Pioneer Press says.
And in response to Coleman's call for the board to resign, St. Paul Police Federation President Dave Titus released a statement to KSTP, saying:
"We appreciate Mayor Coleman's new found interest in St. Paul after spending so much on his gubernatorial campaign. I only wish he focused that concern on the tragic levels of crime the people he is supposed to represent are dealing with.”
Mayoral candidate calls for resignation, too
Pat Harris, who has been endorsed by the St. Paul Police Federation for mayor, also called for the board's resignation, saying in a statement:
"There is absolutely no place in St. Paul for the type of dirty, political tactics and dog whistle racism that have come from the St. Paul Police Federation's leadership over the past few days."
“I will not stand with the current leadership and call upon the board of the St. Paul Police Federation to resign," Harris added.
Mailer links Carter to gun violence
Coleman and Harris' calls for the board to resign came on the same day a flyer was sent to homes in St. Paul trying to link the rise in gun violence to the guns that were stolen from Carter's home back in August.
The mailing was from Building a Better St. Paul, which gets a lot of its funding from the St. Paul Police Federation, the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee, Teamsters Local 120 and St. Paul Fire Fighters Local 21, the Pioneer Press says.
All those groups have endorsed Harris for mayor, the paper notes.
Teamsters Local 120 on Friday issued a statement, saying the mailer "does not represent the views of Teamsters Local 120," adding that it doesn't support its "divisive hurtful messages."
The group also said it will "withdraw any affiliation" with Building a Better St. Paul, and "request that any funds they received from the Local 120 PAC to be donated to charity."