St. Paul police union says it never meant to 're-victimize' Melvin Carter

But they're offended that Melvin Carter's campaign said the criticism was about race.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

The president of St. Paul's police union has apologized for this week's letter criticizing a mayoral candidate who had two handguns stolen from his home this summer. 

But while the St. Paul Police Federation says it did not mean to revictimize Melvin Carter III, it takes offense at the suggestion that the police department is racist. 

The letter criticizing Carter 

Back in August someone broke into Carter's home and stole items including two handguns and some ammunition. 

On Tuesday the police union, which is campaigning for one of Carter's opponents, released an open letter slamming the former city council member over the crime.

A union official said Carter had "decided not to cooperate with investigators" because he had failed to provide serial numbers for the stolen guns. 

The letter said St. Paul voters deserve answers to questions such as how Carter got the guns, where they were stored, and whether he had taken a gun safety course. 

Response to the letter

In a September essay published in the Pioneer Press Carter wrote that the stolen guns had been used by his father during a 28-year career as one of St. Paul's first black police officers. 

Carter wrote that the guns were kept in a locked box and were two of his most prized possessions and said their theft was heartbreaking. 

After the Police Federation's letter came out on Tuesday Carter's campaign issued its own statement, saying the letter shows that people of color are presumed guilty by St. Paul police, MPR News reported

"The idea that a victim of a crime could become the accused based solely on the color of their skin is exactly why police culture needs to change," the campaign said. 

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, who is not running for re-election, was also critical of the union's letter. 

The Star Tribune says Coleman called it a Trump-style attack that does a disservice to the police department, adding: “For any member of the St. Paul Police Federation to attack a crime victim for political advantage is not in-keeping with the best traditions of our city.”

The union apologizes – and takes offense 

Wednesday's follow-up statement from Police Federation President Dave Titus consisted of just three sentences, the Pioneer Press reports: 

“Melvin Carter’s campaign has asserted that the amazing men and women of the St. Paul police department are racists. This is something we categorically deny and find offensive. The intent of our letter yesterday was in no way to revictimize the Carter family and for that we apologize.” 

Pat Harris, the mayoral candidate backed by the police union, told the newspaper he was not involved in this week's letter. 

A 24-year-old man was charged last week in connection with the break-in at Carter's home, MPR says, but the stolen guns have not been recovered.

Next Up

Adam Thielen

Vikings place Adam Thielen on COVID-19/reserve list

Thielen is coming off a two-touchdown game against the Cowboys.

MCF Oak Park Heights

COVID-positive inmate at Oak Park Heights prison dies

He becomes the fourth prison inmate to die from the virus.

Screen Shot 2020-11-23 at 1.08.19 PM

2-ton smoker stolen from Twin Cities chef Thomas Boemer

Boemer is the chef behind restaurants including the popular Revival.

Governor Tim Walz

Walz says relief package is coming for Minnesota small businesses

Walz is prepared to call a special session and pass the package immediately.

Governor Tim Walz

Watch live: Gov. Tim Walz COVID-19 press conference Monday

Walz will be introducing a new app that helps Minnesotans track COVID-19 exposures.

Related

5 things to know about new St. Paul mayor Melvin Carter

Melvin Carter's victory on Tuesday was a resounding one.

Melvin Carter is St. Paul's next mayor

Melvin Carter III won nearly 51 percent of the vote.

Melvin Carter's attempt to 're-imagine' St. Paul City Hall is underway

The mayor-elect has plans to hire diverse talent for high-level positions.

St. Paul mayor turns down police request for 50 more officers

Melvin Carter made his statement on Facebook Friday.

Todd Axtell and Melvin Carter

Mayor, police chief differ on how to address gun violence in St. Paul

Mayor Melvin Carter proposed an extra $1.7 million investment in public safety amid rising violence.

Melvin Carter

Melvin Carter's 2021 budget includes millions in cuts, hiring freeze

The proposed budget will not result in any layoffs of city employees, Carter said.

A man beaten by police in a 2011 raid is suing St. Paul and 6 cops

The city says officers did nothing wrong during the 2011 raid.