Did Cedric Alexander's tweets violate Minneapolis' social media policies?

Minneapolis' new Community Safety Commissioner Cedric Alexander issued a statement Friday "expressing regret" for the "tone" of his replies on Twitter during a heated exchange with residents, but did those tweets violate the city's social media policy? 

The city of Minneapolis's social media policies, which are posted on the city's site, cover all its employees and elected officials. Violations are considered misconduct and could result in discipline, up to and including termination.

The standards also state that city employees could face discipline if their personal use on social media could be "perceived as a conflict with the city's mission, values or degrades public trust."

Questions to the city

FOX 9's Maury Glover asked the city several related questions, including: 

  • Did Commissioner Alexander violate the city's social media policy?
  • Is it is against the policy for a city employee to block someone on social media from a private account?
  • Why hasn't the commissioner changed his bio on Twitter to show he works for the city or created a new professional Twitter account to reflect his new position?

A spokesperson responded with a blanket statement: "We are in the process of reviewing the situation but have not made any determinations."

Supporters respond 

A group of community activists say they support Commissioner Alexander, who just started on the job a couple of months ago.

They say they need him to help curb a spike in crime and drug overdoses, and all the fuss over Alexander's comments on social media is a distraction from the real work that needs to be done on the streets.

"We don't have time, we don't have the luxury of standing outside or standing behind a computer screen or sitting behind a computer screen and rebutting every single word he says when we have members and children and adults in our community dying every day," said Donna Anderson of A Mother's Love.

"This Twitter mess has no bearing on what we are doing in the community," said LaTonya Reeves of the Minnesota Civilian Public Safety Commission.

"Stop your foolishness as my grandmama used to tell me when I was wrong. Stop your foolishness," said Pastor Ian Bethel of the Unity Community Mediation Team.

Fox 9 did ask for interviews with both Commissioner Alexander and Mayor Frey but we were not given that opportunity.

The mayor did release a statement saying "I spoke with the Commissioner last night. I appreciate his prompt response today to the community and members of the media."