N. Minneapolis community members and Police come together following racist Christmas tree

“I love north Minneapolis. I was really disappointed with the Christmas tree that was decorated."

Edgar Linares
December 07, 2018 - 8:40 pm

By Edgar Linares

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A Christmas tree with a lot of meaning now sits in front of Minneapolis 4th Police Precinct.

On Friday evening, members of the Northside community and police officers gathered to decorate a Christmas tree following last week’s controversy of a tree decorated in the lobby of the Fourth Precinct with what some called “racists” items.

Members of Black Lives Matter Twin Cities organized the event; Chauntyll Allen with the group was one of the first to receive images of the poorly decorated tree last week. She told reporters what she found most disturbing.

“I think it was a combo of things, the items that were placed and the fact that it was, not just a public place, but a tax paid public place,” said Allen.

The tree was decorated with a number of items including Newport cigarettes, malt liquor, a Popeyes Chicken cup and police tape.

Minneapolis City Council Member Phillipe Cunningham said the decorations “mocked” north Minneapolis’ black community and the people police serve.

The tree was removed and two officers placed on paid leave. In addition, the Fourth Precinct Inspector, Aaron Baird was removed from his post. Some in the community felt enough wasn’t done and are demanding the police officers and staff members at the Fourth Precinct reapply for their jobs. They also want any officers with complaints; who have been disciplined; or have a history of domestic abuse not have access to the Fourth Precinct.

Friday evening’s event, called “Black Christmas 2” asked community members to come decorate the tree with items they hold personally. Kimberly Caprini brought two handmade ornaments with the zip codes of 55411 and 55412.

“It’s where I live, it’s where I work,” said Caprini “I love north Minneapolis. I was really disappointed with the Christmas tree that was decorated. A lot of bridges have been built and it made a significant dent in the work that’s been done.”

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo agreed with Caprini.

“It set us back,” said Arradondo. “For Miss Chauntyll and others to say ‘you know what? That doesn’t represent us as a Northside community’, I know that.”

Allen said this new tree is just a beginning and said relations need to mend. On Sunday, officers from the Fourth Precinct will meet with Northside church leaders to discuss the incident further.