By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A St. Paul mayoral candidate made his first public comments Saturday after being at the center of controversial statements put out by the city’s police federation.

The St. Paul Police Federation accused Melvin Carter of not doing enough to secure two handguns that were stolen from his house this summer.

The comments have been called racist and drawn criticism from Mayor Chris Coleman and even Carter’s opponents.

Carter was joined by Sen. Al Franken to kick off a day of door knocking.

The campaigning comes just days after comments made by the St Paul Police Federation that put the candidate in the middle of controversy.

“It’s been a very challenging week on a number of fronts,” Carter said.

The statements were posted on a mailed flyer that read in part:

“Had Carter called the police immediately upon learning of his own home being burglarized recently — his two guns would likely not be on the streets today.”

“It’s indicative of a broader culture that we have to address as a city,” Carter said.

Coleman and mayoral candidate Pat Harris denounced the comments and on Thursday called for the police union head Dave Titus to resign.

“I strognly reject the letter and the campaign piece and I deeply disagree with those responsible for them and the organization behind them,” Harris said.

Titus responded Friday with a statement saying in part:

“I take full responsibility. I regret the distraction this has caused during such an important mayoral race and period of violent crime in our City.”

Carter, whose father was a police officer, said the comments from the federation do not take away the respect he has for police officers.

“Their actions don’t represent all cops,” Carter said. “But make no mistake, people all over St. Paul and all over America knew this feeling my family has now all too well before the mail came this week.”

Harris was endorsed and financially backed by the Police Federation.

He says he has issued a refund of their $600 campaign contribution.


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