The prospect of Rich Stanek’s returning to the Minneapolis Police Department has some minority leaders upset and some elected officials predicting his work will face tough scrutiny, reports the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Stanek talked yesterday with Police Chief William McManus, and the two plan to meet again to discuss his future.
Last week, Stanek resigned as state public safety commissioner after concerns were renewed about his admission a decade ago that he had used a racial slur and told racial jokes while on the Minneapolis force. Stanek, a 21-year veteran of the force, is poised to return as a police captain – part of an interagency agreement between the city and the state a year ago. Still, several leaders in the African-American community say he shouldn’t be allowed back on the force.
“I have some concerns about Rich Stanek returning to Minneapolis. He was turned down for a state job because of his racial inconsistencies,” said the Rev. Ian Bethel. “Those comments, that does not just go away.”
Stanek has discussed his return with Mayor H.T. The Pioneer Press says that Rybak faces a dilemma. The mayor has made changing the negative image of the police department among minorities a central issue. Rybak appointed McManus earlier this year, touting McManus’ long history of working with minority communities in Washington, D.C., and Dayton, Ohio, and his track record of putting people of color in command positions.
Community leaders and the police department recently reached a federally mediated pact involving a range of issues from racial profiling to how officers deal with the mentally ill. The city’s mediation team, composed of police and community leaders, meets tomorrow to discuss relations, and city officials expect Stanek’s planned return to lead the discussion.