Waiting for Chief Olson

Federal mediation is delayed; this is a recording...

The last point is not lost on Edwards. "I can't believe the cowardliness of the mayor and city council on this," Edwards says. "They did nothing at the crucial points in December when Olson balked. The city could have forced the issue. Ask them where they've been on this."

Mayor R.T. Rybak is content to wait it out. "I can't say it looks pretty from where I sit, but we asked the community to make its choice of leaders," Rybak says. "I have never believed the mediation process, while helpful, would solve all of our problems. I'm working on the recruitment of more minority officers right now. I don't need mediation to get me focused on the problem."

Campbell Glenn has repeatedly taken a wait-and-see approach. And, while others grow increasingly impatient, Edwards is theorizing that Olson is waiting for another post to open and will be long gone by the time mediation rolls around. Whatever the case, Edwards warns, if mediation falls through, the investigative arm of the justice department will swoop into Minneapolis and put the MPD and city leaders under the supervision of federal authorities. "Ashcroft would love to have his hands on the DFL in this town," Edwards surmises. "The whole point of mediation was to keep Ashcroft out of our business. Well, he's in our business now."

Meanwhile, incidents involving the police and members of a minority community threaten to push tensions to the boiling point. "No matter what happens," Edwards warns, "I don't think this town has the luxury to wait until June or July."

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