Thursday, January 19, 2006

Chief appeases friends of dead gangster

Minneapolis Chief McManus had a choice: support your officer or appease friends of the dead gangster who tried to kill said officer 15 years ago (see prior Rambix post: "Which side are they on?".

He chose appeasement.

Sgt. Dan May, in a news release Thursday, said the controversy "has adversely affected me and my family and has been a distraction to the police department. I hope that my decision to return the medal can put this matter to rest so that I, and everyone involved, can move forward."

Police Chief Bill McManus, in response to the criticism, said Wednesday that he would issue an apology to the family of 17-year-old Tycel Nelson, who was killed in December 1990.
Officer (now Sgt.) May had been cleared of any wrongdoing in the 1990 incident and the evidence shows that he heroically put his life on the line to stop an armed thug. So what's the problem? Why won't the Chief stand up for his officer? What are the front-line officers thinking? Will they hesitate next time they need to act, and will one of the good guys get hurt because of it?

In his news release, May said several investigations cleared him of wrongdoing in the case. "I have tried to move past this, but the refusal of some people to accept the facts and findings of the case is frustrating," he said.

May didn't refer to McManus' decision to offer an apology. Though he was returning
the medal, May said "it means a lot to have received validation" from the committee that awarded the medal and his colleagues.

Sgt. May is handling this contrived controversy with professionalism and class. If only the Chief had done so.

McManus told the City Council he would present a letter of apology on Thursday to Earline Skinner, Nelson's mother. The Rev. Ian Bethel, co-chairman of the Police Community Relations Council, co-signed the letter.

McManus also said he wanted to "put this to bed."

"There are a few steps I'll take to further resolve this by the end of the week," he said, saying the steps were internal.
There's no word yet on whether the "further resolve" will include having all future police decisions cleared first by "community activists" Ron Edwards and Spike Moss.