ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A political group called Building a Better St. Paul said Friday it is stopping political activity and donating the rest of its funds to a nonprofit amid mounting criticism over a mailer that tried to link an increase in shootings with a black St. Paul mayoral candidate Melvin Carter.
Meanwhile, the head of the St. Paul police union said Friday that he would not resign despite calls for him to do so, after he criticized Carter for failing to report information about guns stolen from his home in August. Union head Dave Titus announced that the St. Paul Police Federation Political Awareness Committee would also stop political activity for the rest of the election season.
On Tuesday, the union issued a letter that criticized Carter for not providing serial numbers from two handguns that were stolen. Then later this week, voters received a mailer from Building a Better St. Paul that said more than 100 shots were fired in the city since the guns were stolen, and the stolen guns likely would be off the streets if Carter called police immediately.
The mailer was quickly criticized by political leaders. Mayor Chris Coleman and police union-backed candidate Pat Harris both called for the union’s board to resign.
St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell sent a department-wide email Friday that addressed the role the federation played in starting the controversy, and attempted to distance the department from union leaders.
Titus said in a statement that the union’s executive board “had little to no involvement in the political activities of the past week.” He said the union’s letter from earlier in the week was an “ill-advised political attack” and was not racially motivated.
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