Minneapolis News Station Is Convinced the Mayor Is a Gangsta
Minneapolis police leaked a photo to a local news station this week showing Mayor Betsy Hodges allegedly posing with a convicted felon while throwing up a "known sign" for a North Minneapolis gang.
Or, put a different way, she was pointing at a local nonprofit employee who happens to be black and on probation.
Local ABC affiliate KSTP, which got the exclusive photo from the Minneapolis PD, aired a scandalized report that played up the man's criminal record. They quoted a retired cop angry that the mayor "is legitimizing gangs who are killing our children in Minneapolis."
If KSTP asked whether the man in the photo, who is reportedly on supervised probation for "drug selling and possession and illegal possession of a firearm," actually had any gang affiliation, they didn't mention it in their report.
The mayor's office says the man, Navell Gordon, is actually a well-regarded worker at Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, and he was assisting with a get-out-the-vote event when the photo was taken.
"I made some mistakes in life. I can't vote, I'm not ashamed to say that," Gordon said in a video for the organization. "I'm working on fixing that right now so I can be able to vote for my next president, do you understand?"
Minnesota Public Radio says the story has backfired on KSTP in a big way, drawing a bunch of angry comments on their website and inspiring the Twitter hashtag "#pointergate:"
"RT @mrmedina: Hey @JayKollsKSTP & @KSTP I found a few more gang-affiliated folk #pointergate pic.twitter.com/tgFkZiSdUo
— Christine Sitzes (@sacourtreporter) November 7, 2014
But why would someone inside the police department feed KSTP a flimsy story about the mayor apparently being some kind of gang member in the first place?
Could be because Hodges said last month that "some officers abuse the trust that is afforded to them, and take advantage of their roles to do harm rather than prevent it," and said her administration would focus on fixing the department's reputation.
Starting today, 36 Minneapolis police officers will be required to wear body cameras as part of a pilot program to decrease the use of excessive force. All officers could be wearing the cameras by the end of 2015.
Hodges and police chief Janeé Harteau, who was actually with the mayor and Gordon at that get-out-the-vote event, are proponents of the program.