It’s been one week since two Minneapolis police officers allegedly decorated their precinct’s Christmas tree with racist decorations. Following the incident, both officers involved were placed on leave while a new officer was put in charge of the precinct. Now, the community is showing their lack of tolerance for racism in any form by decorating their own tree, right out front of the precinct where the incident happened, according to KSTP News.
The precinct is located in a primarily black area of Minneapolis. A couple of officers thought it would be comical to decorate the police station’s Christmas tree with items signifying racial stereotypes. The items appeared to be taken from the trash, including leftovers from Popeye’s Chicken, Newport cigarettes, cans of Steel Reserve malt liquor, and crumpled Funyon bags. The final touch was a strip of yellow crime scene tape. Each Christmas an officer is given the privilege of decorating the precinct’s tree. This year, the officer in charge decided to choose ornaments he thought were representative of the community he was supposed to serve. The callous joke did not go over well, according to the Washington Post.
— WCCO – CBS Minnesota (@WCCO) November 30, 2018
When pictures of the trashy tree began to circulate on social media, the community was unsurprisingly in an uproar. However, neighbors decided that in the spirit of the holiday season they would come together peacefully to protest the officer’s cruel prank. On Friday, many disapproving members of the community came out to decorate a new tree, one that properly represented what this season is supposed to be all about.
Now, just steps away from the 4th precinct stands a beautiful Christmas tree. Its presence is meant to be a peaceful sign of protest, but it represents far more than that. The tree serves as a reminder that even in the midst of hate and division, Minneapolis will not let the intolerant actions of some take away from the beauty of the Christmas season.
The tree is meant “To really give a proper representation of Christmas for the north side,” said Chauntyll Allen with Black Lives Matter Twin Cities. Nekima Levy-Armstrong of the Racial Justice Network also spoke out regarding how much the tree really means.
“We are out here to say that as a community, we do not tolerate racism,” she said.
Meanwhile Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo is disgusted by the actions of the precinct’s officers.
“Appalled, disgusted, hurt because that is not anything that I would certainly condone,” Arradondo said.