UPDATE 2: David Brauer suggests a motive for the police "outrage":
UPDATE: If the KSTP story annoys you, donate to Neighborhoods Organizing for Change via Nation Builder (see more below) [end update]
On KSTP-TV at 10:00 p.m., Jay Kolls reported in Mpls. Mayor Flashes Gang Sign with Convicted Felon; Law Enforcement Outraged:
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has obtained a photo of Minneapolis Mayor, Betsy Hodges, posing with a convicted felon while flashing a known gang sign.
The man in the photo is a twice-convicted felon for drug selling and possession and illegal possession of a firearm. He is currently sentenced to five-years at the St. Cloud Correctional Facility, with the prison term stayed for three years while he is under supervised probation until 2016. If he violates terms of his probation during that time, he will serve the five years behind bars.
The photo was taken a week before the November election while the mayor canvassed neighborhoods with a nonprofit group in a get-out-the-vote event. Hodges declined repeated requests for interviews. But, her spokesperson told us the mayor enjoys meeting with many people who are organizing on the North side. . . .
The group, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC) had arranged the photo shoot and created a video of the GOTV canvassing. The photographer tweeted that she'd taken the photo and and shared the video:
And Minneapolis's healthy twitterverse responded--and the hilarity made it all the way out to Bluestem's world headquarters on the wind-swept prairie of Chippewa County, Minnesota, as people sought and found other leaders and celebrities flashing "gang signs," in a counterpoint to what many took as racial stereotyping.
Some of the best of the #pointergate hashtag:
Even though his own report noted that the African-American man in the photo was not a gang member, Kolls was not shamed by the hilarity:
@bzosiad Gang signs have meaning. People have died over them and you joke about it.— Jay Kolls (@JayKollsKSTP) November 7, 2014
And judging by the tweet by labor leader Javier Morillo-Alicea, the twitterverse had a word for that:
We'll stay tuned to see why this story was manufactured by the Minneapolis Police Department to pitch to KSTP. It's probably not like this is going to be a repeat of KSTP's million-dollar mistake.
In meantime, follow the fray on twitter via #pointergate.
UPDATE: One of the best pivots is the suggestion to make a one-time contribution to NOC. Use this link.
If you appreciate Bluestem Prairie, you can mail contributions (payable to Sally Jo Sorensen P.O. Box 108, Maynard MN 56260) or use the paypal button below:
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