A Blast from the Past

Former mayor Sharon Sayles Belton on her successor

"Oh, I certainly agree with that," Price says. "Look, Sharon should have beat this guy, and she knows it. But now we have a mayor that has got to engage African Americans in a big way. This will be the deciding factor in the next election."

 

The Last Days ofMediation? As hard as it is to imagine, negotiations between the city, the MPD, and community representatives to revamp policing practices are apparently nearing an agreement.

The talks, brokered by a federal mediator from the Department of Justice, have stalled repeatedly over the last year. More recently, after community rep Alfred Flowers was allegedly roughed up by Minneapolis cops, the talks have appeared in jeopardy altogether. Stephen Porter's allegations likewise cast a pall over any potential agreement.

However, I'm told that Police Chief Robert Olson, who had refused to come to the table a year ago, has been pushing to wrap up the process before he leaves office at the start of the new year. A tentative deadline of December 1 for all parties to sign an agreement has been set, but any details are unclear at this point.

But sources say the chief's departure may come into play, and that city and police representatives are hesitant to implement any concessions until a new police chief has been hired. If that's the case, it may be as late as April until the agreement is made public. At any rate, Olson stands to benefit either way, adding one more accomplishment to his résumé before he leaves town.

 

The Porter Situation:There's been some confusion on the FBI's investigation of the Stephen Porter case. Initially, it was believed that federal investigators would be issuing a preliminary report last week, within 30 days after the alleged incident on October 13. But, it turns out, the FBI will not publicly release any information until the investigation is completed, instead reporting initial findings directly to the Justice Department.

"That was some misinformation that came out when the mayor had a press conference," says FBI spokesman Paul McCabe. "There will be no public reports, and there are no time constraints on the investigation."

Still, McCabe insists the agency has invested "significant manpower to expedite" the investigation. If charges are not pursued, McCabe notes, a letter will go to the police chief, the alleged victim, and the accused police officers. Otherwise, the next public announcement on the Porter incident would come with a grand jury indictment. "This will be a thorough investigation," McCabe promises.

 

Suggestions, gripes, and tips should be sent to granderson@citypages.com.

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