Melvin Carter Responds to Campaign Mailer Controversy

October 30, 2017 01:32 PM

St. Paul mayoral candidate Melvin Carter said the racist attacks from the St. Paul Police Federation and an independent political action committee are not surprising or unique, and signal a larger conversation that needs to be had.

Carter, joined by Sen. Al Franken, addressed supporters Saturday at a door-knocking kickoff event in St. Paul. It was the first opportunity Carter has taken to address the controversy of the last week.

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A letter, sent by the St. Paul Police Federation, called into question why Carter wasn't more cooperative with police after two guns were stolen from his home during a burglary. A mailer put together by the "Building A Better St. Paul" political action committee (PAC) was sent out a day after the letter and made similar accusations.

The PAC is partially funded by the St. Paul Police Federation.

RELATED: Campaign Mailer Puts St. Paul Mayor's Race in Turmoil

Carter told reporters Saturday that while the attack targeted his family, it also raised the issue of a broader culture divide between police and people of color.

"This is bigger than just one isolated incident," Carter said. "This is indicative of a broader culture that we have to address as a city."

Several people, including Carter's opponent Pat Harris, are calling for the resignation of the federation board members. Dave Titus, president of the executive board, said in a statement that the federation, "had little to no involvement" with the flier or the letter, but that he takes, "full responsibility."

RELATED: 2017 Election Page

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman also called for the police union board resignations.

Carter said while that is something to consider, a larger issue looms.

"As far as St. Paul is concerned, I believe we deserve a police union that works well with city leadership, that works in the best interest of our city and represents our rank-and-file officers," he said. "And I think they have a point, that there's something there to look at."

On Friday, "Building A Better St. Paul" announced it would take steps to "wind down" activity and plan to donate the remaining campaign contributions to a non-profit.

Credits

Kirsten Swanson

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