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MNGOP Rep. Pat Garofalo takes renewed heat for dumb tweet after he cracks joke about it

MNGOP Rep. Pat Garofalo takes renewed heat for dumb tweet after he cracks joke about it
Rep. Pat Garofalo

About 10 days ago, Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, drew attention from national media outlets ranging from SporsCenter to the Huffington Post for a tweet insinuating that your typical NBA player is a street criminal.

THE BACKSTORY: MNGOP Rep. Garofalo savaged for tweet linking NBA players to street criminals

It was bad, but as is usually the case with these things, it blew over in time. Now, however, Garofalo is taking fresh heat for cracking a joke about his regrettable tweet during a House Energy Policy Committee on Monday afternoon.

Garofalo was being job shadowed by a college student at the hearing.

"She's a freshman in college at Bethel University and she's going to be shadowing me for the day, where, after the Energy Committee I'll be giving her expert advice on what not to say on Twitter," Garofalo quipped, according to a KARE 11 report. The room burst out in laughter.

But for Mel Reeves, a freelance reporter and columnist for the Minnesota Spokesman Recorder, Garofalo's joke was no laughing matter.

"Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis are dead because of peoples' perceptions of who black people are," Reeves says. "This idea of black criminality is causing people to lose their lives. For a lawmaker, it's a big deal."

So Reeves and other activists, including members of the St. Paul NAACP, headed to the Capitol on Wednesday to demand an apology from Garofalo, and to ask Gov. Mark Dayton to officially censure him.

"Initially [Garofalo] refused to apologize, and then when he did it was halfhearted," Reeves says. "If he can't apologize then maybe he shouldn't serve in the legislature anymore."

Reeves acknowledges that "no doubt there are black kids in the inner city that are committing crimes," but said "criminality is relative."

"These guys aren't dropping drones on anybody," he says. "They didn't rob the U.S. Treasury of nearly a trillion dollars."

The activists who headed to the Capitol didn't meet with Garofalo, and Reeves doesn't have any confidence Dayton will do anything in response to the censure request.

"I don't think [lawmakers] are going to take it seriously, but that's a mistake," Reeves says. "They're making a mistake if they don't think we're serious. Folks who know me know that when I get a hold of something, I take it pretty seriously."

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


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