Mayor, chief respond to Pawlenty mailer using uniformed Minneapolis officers

Minneapolis officials responded Friday after a Tim Pawlenty for Governor campaign mailer opposing benefits for illegal immigrants showed an image of Minneapolis Police officers.

The image originated from the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis endorsement of the Republican gubernatorial candidate. According to Minneapolis Police policy, officers are not to appear in any media advertisement for political candidates, with the exception of Police Federation officials.

However, the image was repurposed in Pawlenty’s campaign ad. Underneath the image, a quote from Pawlenty reads, “Our state is wasting millions on benefits for those here illegally. That’s not right. I will enforce our laws and be a strong voice for hardworking Minnesotans.”

Minneapolis is one of a handful of cities around the nation dubbed a "sanctuary city." The city describes its version of a sanctuary city as a jurisdiction that will not “do the work of the federal government by asking about immigration status or assisting with an arrest of a person for violations of federal immigration laws.”

Friday, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo released a statement saying the department, “does not endorse any political candidate and that all members of the MPD will continue to treat every member of the public professionally and with respect. We will not engage in any activity that singles out an individual based solely upon their citizenship or immigration status.”

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey also chimed in Friday with a statement of his own.

Our policy preventing MPD officers from asking about immigration status is not an advisory guideline that can be selectively ignored. It is a city law that cannot be reversed by Bob Kroll or any political candidate. They don’t speak for the city. So let me make it clear: our separation ordinance will be enforced no matter who occupies the office of Governor or who is leading the police union. Minneapolis stands with our immigrant brothers and sisters who have, throughout our city’s history, made Minneapolis a better place to live.

Frey’s office added that the photo should have included a disclaimer stating clearly that the photo is not an endorsement by the Minneapolis Police Department.

Frey and Arradondo are now working to have any online materials updated to include the disclaimer or to blur the Minneapolis Police trademark patches and badges. The other option would be to remove the images containing individuals wearing the MPD uniform is it cannot be blurred.