BLACK VOICES

Citation Dropped Against Black Man Accused Of Walking In The Middle Of The Street

The city's mayor said the officer was following protocol, but an investigation will take place nonetheless.

Police have dismissed a citation issued last week to a black man in Minnesota for allegedly walking in the middle of a street, government officials said. A state authority is now investigating the controversial incident.

The mayor of Edina, Minnesota, announced Sunday that the citation will be dismissed, following a firestorm of attention over the Oct. 12 arrest of Larnie Thomas, which was filmed and widely seen on social media.

In the video, Thomas is seen arguing with an Edina police officer who accuses him of inappropriately walking in the middle of the street. The city later acknowledged in a statement that one of the surrounding sidewalks had been closed for construction. The statement nonetheless accused Thomas of being “belligerent” and refusing to obey orders.

Thomas was eventually taken into custody and cited for disorderly conduct and failure to obey a traffic signal, the city said at the time.

Larnie Thomas was arrested Oct. 12 after an Edina police officer accused him of inappropriately walking in the middle of a&nb
Larnie Thomas was arrested Oct. 12 after an Edina police officer accused him of inappropriately walking in the middle of a street.

The Minneapolis NAACP had demanded that Lt. Tim Olson, the officer in the video, be suspended without pay.

Mayor Jim Hovland, in responding to the NAACP’s requests, said the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension will review the incident, but maintained that Olson “was following established protocol.”

“However, under the circumstances, the City will review that protocol and determine how to better approach this type of incident with greater sensitivity in the future,” Hovland’s statement read. “We will work with the Edina community and invite other organizations to participate in this very important conversation. There are lessons we should and will learn from this experience.”

Hovland added that Olson will remain on the job and the city will provide additional training to its police force “on implicit and explicit bias.”

“We would value suggestions for specific training from the Minneapolis NAACP,” the city’s statement read.

The NAACP, responding to the city’s announcement in a Facebook post Monday, stated that “this is not justice, but it is a step in the right direction.”

The NAACP, in addition to calling for Olson’s suspension, had asked that the city’s mayor and police chief formally apologize, and that an independent investigation take place.

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