BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. — A coalition of Twin Cities organizations held a press conference and rally in Brooklyn Center ahead of the city's first council meeting of the year Monday to demand the city take accountability for what they consider to be a "militarized" and "racist" police department recruitment video.
According to Communities United Against Police Brutality (CUAPB), a Twin Cities-based volunteer organization, Brooklyn Center took down the video that was posted to the city's website after receiving complaints from the Minneapolis NAACP and other local organizations.
On Dec. 29, CUAPB posted a video on its Facebook page, claiming it was a "recruitment video the Brooklyn Center PD is using." In the video, dramatic music plays as Brooklyn Center officers are seen putting on gear inside the police station. One officer then gets into a squad car while carrying a large-semiautomatic rifle.
"Professionalism. Accountability. Compassion. Trust. This is Brooklyn Center," a narration says under the music. "It's challenging. There will be hard days. Nobody said it would be easy to protect this community. Your community. Will you answer the call?"
The video then shows officers engaging in a police chase and arrest, where a gun is recovered from a vehicle.
A spokesperson for the city confirmed Monday afternoon that the video in question was originally posted on the Brooklyn Center Police Department website. The video has since been taken down.
“The video in question does not represent the full breadth of community policing by the City of Brooklyn Center officers, nor our community engagement efforts," Brooklyn Center Police Chief Kellace McDaniel said in a written statement. "We must have a recruitment resource that demonstrates police collaborating with city leaders and the community to protect and promote the safety and well-being of residents and visitors across the city. We determined to immediately remove the video from all social media platforms."
Chief McDaniel joined the department in May 2022 following a nationwide search to replace Tim Gannon, who resigned following the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright in April 2021.
CUAPB which released a statement on behalf of Black Lives Matter Minnesota, Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence, the Minneapolis NAACP and other organizations, also took issue with the lack of diversity among the officers featured in the video.
"In the most diverse community in the state, a city where nearly 67% of the population are people of color or indigenous, the video featured almost exclusively white officers. None were female," they said.
The rally is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. at Brooklyn Center City Hall.
The Brooklyn Center Police Department came under nationwide scrutiny in 2021 after police officer Kimberly Potter shot and killed 20-year-old Wright during a traffic stop. Potter, who testified that she thought she was grabbing her Taser instead of her gun, was found guilty of first- and second-degree manslaughter and sentenced to two years for killing Wright, 16 months of which will be served in prison.
In June 2022, a civil settlement was reached with the city, where Brooklyn Center agreed to pay $3.25 million to members of Wright's family and implement changes within the department relating to its policies and traffic stop training.
"Over the past two years, the City of Brooklyn Center has worked diligently to rebuild the relationship between the community and all city departments including the police. We understand that releasing the video in question would damage those efforts and the established trust with Brooklyn Center residents and surrounding communities," Chief McDaniel continued in his statement. "Our next step is to move forward and work with the Brooklyn Center police department and other city administrative departments to develop a video that reflects the quality of who we are as a city.”
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