Edina takes steps to correct ‘long-term racial inequalities’

May 16, 2018

EDINA, Minn. (AP) — Leaders in a Minneapolis suburb have approved a task force report recommending steps to correct the city’s “long-term racial inequities.”

Edina city officials assembled the task force in response to an October 2016 incident involving a white police officer handcuffing a black man. A bystander video went viral, with some viewers objecting to what they saw as rough treatment.

The task force report came after more than a year of work, the Star Tribune reported . It includes 21 recommendations to address racial discrimination in all facets of the city and addresses a lack of diversity in local government.

“We want to be an inclusive and engaged community,” Edina Mayor James Hovland said.

About 2 percent of the city’s residents are black, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. The City Council doesn’t have any members who are a racial minority.

The report encouraged the city to put more people of color and multilingual residents in local government positions “to more closely reflect the demographics of Hennepin County.” About 13 percent of Edina residents are black, according to the census.

The report also recommends that the city update its affordable housing policy to encourage diversity.

The report noted that people surveyed said officers had a disproportionate amount of interactions with minorities, and that the city didn’t respond well to discrimination complaints.

“Additionally, police suspicion is perceived to be racially motivated in situations where people of color are in high-income neighborhoods and when people of color are in possession of expensive goods,” the report said.

The task force recommended that the police department analyze interaction by race and publicly share the findings, and teach officers about implicit bias and microaggressions. They also recommended creating a resident board to review police misconduct allegations.

City staffers are expected to create a plan based on the report that’s expected to be enacted in December.


Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

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