Citation Issued to Pedestrian Stopped by Edina Officer Dismissed

October 17, 2016 10:19 PM

A citation issued to a pedestrian walking in a lane of busy street traffic last week has been dismissed.

An Edina police officer pulled his vehicle over when he saw the pedestrian walking along Xerxes Avenue. According to the Edina Police Department, the officer attempted to signal to the pedestrian, advising him to get out of the road. However, the pedestrian was wearing headphones, according to the department, and kept walking in the lane of traffic.

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The officer then pulled in front of the man to block him from continuing to walk in the lane, according to the department. The man kept walking and the officer followed him to try to get him onto a sidewalk. However, the pedestrian didn't stop and refused to comply with the officer, according to the department.

The pedestrian was detained at the scene.

Some expressed frustration with the way the situation was handled, including the Minnesota NAACP, which demanded a formal apology from the Edina Police Department.

RELATED: Minn. NAACP Demands Formal Apology From Edina PD

The city of Edina's mayor, Jim Hovland, issued a statement in response to the citation dismissal:

People across the country are expressing concern about how he was treated by the Edina Police. (The pedestrian) was not taken to jail. He was driven to a local shopping mall at his request and released. The citation issued to (the pedestrian) will be dismissed.

The officer involved was following established protocol. However, under the circumstances, the City will review that protocol and determine how to better approach this type of incident with greater sensitivity in the future. We will work with the Edina community and invite other organizations to participate in this very important conversation. There are lessons we should and will learn from this experience.

The city of Edina also sent a news release Monday afternoon addressing the specific requests from the NAACP.

Below is the statement including responses to questions raised by the NAACP through a news release and social media posts:

That a formal, independent investigation be conducted regarding this incident and whether any department protocols or state laws were violated by the officer(s) in question. The inquiry should also include whether the civil rights and civil liberties of Mr. Thomas were violated.

Yes. The City of Edina will ask the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to conduct an independent investigation of this incident.

That Officer Tim Olson be suspended without pay, pending the outcome of a formal investigation into this incident.

Lt. Tim Olson will remain on the job. He and all officers involved followed the Police Department’s established procedures and the incident ended safely.

That Edina Police begin collecting race and other demographic data during traffic stops and to use said data in reforming departmental policies and procedures.

The City invites Minneapolis NAACP to talk with staff more about this and how the data would be collected and used.

A formal apology by the Mayor and Police Chief to Mr. Thomas and the public at large.

The City of Edina believes the officers involved followed established protocol. The City will review that protocol and determine how to better approach this type of incident with greater sensitivity in the future. There are lessons we should and will learn from this experience, and we will invite the community to participate in this discussion.

Retraining of all Edina Police officers on implicit and explicit bias.

Yes. We will provide additional training to Edina Police officers on implicit and explicit bias. We would value suggestions for specific training from the Minneapolis NAACP.

Implementation and adoption of best practices from the report by the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

The City of Edina will work with the community to review the report by the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, as well as its own practices and protocols. We will also closely monitor the ongoing work of the Governor’s Council on Law Enforcement and Community Relations.

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Rebecca Omastiak

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