BLM just met a police department that serves the university elite

Stories about the fatal shooting of Philando Castile in Minnesota on Wednesday night have been a bit misleading when they identify the area where the incident occurred as suburban.  Falcon Heights, were the shooting took place, does have a lot of  open space, but that is because it is home to the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota, aka the farm campus, aka Moo U by locals.  The School of Agriculture has acres of fields for experimental farming, and then there is the University of Minnesota's own golf course.  But despite the cornfields, there is much sophistication.  Falcon Heights' University Grove neighborhood, developed to help recruit faculty members, has been called by the New York Times a “living time capsule of vernacular modern architecture in America.”

In addition, Falcon Heights is home to the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.  For ten days a year, some of the largest crowds in American flood into the area.  In terms of average daily crowd size, it is the largest fair in the nation.

The University and the Fairgrounds have their own police departments.  The police department of the city of St. Anthony Park patrols the remainder of Falcon Heights under a contractual arrangement.  It also patrols the adjacent village of Lauderdale, which is also home to many university employees  

Much of the development in St. Anthony Park dates to the late 19th century, and the feel of the place is like that of any Midwestern city from the late 19th to early 20th century, right down to a Carnegie Library designated as a historic landmark.  It is located on the boundary between Ramsey and Hennepin Counties, as well as between the St. Paul and Minneapolis campuses of the University of Minnesota.  The  community, which often calls itself a village, has over the years been home to a great many internationally famous intellectuals and liberal icons, including Nobel Prize winners.  

Note that in February, the community newspaper for the area that includes Falcon Heights, Lauderdale, and St. Anthony Park ran an earnest editorial titled “Commentary: Bernie Sanders: A teen’s perspective.”  The politics here trends hard left, not the center-right found in many suburbs. 

In other words, Falcon Heights and St. Anthony Park are not full of ranch-style houses, strip malls, fast food franchises, and middle management business types.  However, like a lot of suburbs, the area patrolled by the St. Anthony Park police department is predominantly white.  Asians outnumber blacks, and violent crime is rare to almost unknown.

Note too that the incident occurred near what may be a major revenue source for the department.  While the major part of the area patrolled by the St. Anthony Police Department is low-traffic and staid, Snelling and Larpenteur Avenues, both major thoroughfares with four lanes of traffic, intersect near the northeastern edge of Falcon Heights.  It’s the perfect place to station a patrol car to write tickets for minor traffic violations.  Doubly so because those who receive such citations are not likely to live in the jurisdiction and make inconvenient complaints to local politicians.

If Philandro Castile was indeed killed by a cop who overreacted at an ordinary traffic stop for a broken taillight, the community reaction will be interesting to watch.  Getting killed for driving while black is supposed to happen in communities full of knuckle-dragging white supremacists, not in a village run by the enlightened elite employees of a famous university.  This despite the common observation that the police in such enclaves often get the message that part of their role is to be decidedly unfriendly to those who don’t look as though they belong among the elite.  There are a lot of cases out there of being stopped for driving while redneck that the same people who complain about profiling blacks don’t see as wrong.  The very nice 22-year-old son of friends often gets stopped on his way to and from remodeling work in certain elite neighborhoods because of the assumption that a long-haired kid, grimy from work and in an old truck, is up to no good.

I expect scapegoating from St. Anthony Park, not mea culpas for hypocrisy.

Stories about the fatal shooting of Philando Castile in Minnesota on Wednesday night have been a bit misleading when they identify the area where the incident occurred as suburban.  Falcon Heights, were the shooting took place, does have a lot of  open space, but that is because it is home to the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota, aka the farm campus, aka Moo U by locals.  The School of Agriculture has acres of fields for experimental farming, and then there is the University of Minnesota's own golf course.  But despite the cornfields, there is much sophistication.  Falcon Heights' University Grove neighborhood, developed to help recruit faculty members, has been called by the New York Times a “living time capsule of vernacular modern architecture in America.”

In addition, Falcon Heights is home to the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.  For ten days a year, some of the largest crowds in American flood into the area.  In terms of average daily crowd size, it is the largest fair in the nation.

The University and the Fairgrounds have their own police departments.  The police department of the city of St. Anthony Park patrols the remainder of Falcon Heights under a contractual arrangement.  It also patrols the adjacent village of Lauderdale, which is also home to many university employees  

Much of the development in St. Anthony Park dates to the late 19th century, and the feel of the place is like that of any Midwestern city from the late 19th to early 20th century, right down to a Carnegie Library designated as a historic landmark.  It is located on the boundary between Ramsey and Hennepin Counties, as well as between the St. Paul and Minneapolis campuses of the University of Minnesota.  The  community, which often calls itself a village, has over the years been home to a great many internationally famous intellectuals and liberal icons, including Nobel Prize winners.  

Note that in February, the community newspaper for the area that includes Falcon Heights, Lauderdale, and St. Anthony Park ran an earnest editorial titled “Commentary: Bernie Sanders: A teen’s perspective.”  The politics here trends hard left, not the center-right found in many suburbs. 

In other words, Falcon Heights and St. Anthony Park are not full of ranch-style houses, strip malls, fast food franchises, and middle management business types.  However, like a lot of suburbs, the area patrolled by the St. Anthony Park police department is predominantly white.  Asians outnumber blacks, and violent crime is rare to almost unknown.

Note too that the incident occurred near what may be a major revenue source for the department.  While the major part of the area patrolled by the St. Anthony Police Department is low-traffic and staid, Snelling and Larpenteur Avenues, both major thoroughfares with four lanes of traffic, intersect near the northeastern edge of Falcon Heights.  It’s the perfect place to station a patrol car to write tickets for minor traffic violations.  Doubly so because those who receive such citations are not likely to live in the jurisdiction and make inconvenient complaints to local politicians.

If Philandro Castile was indeed killed by a cop who overreacted at an ordinary traffic stop for a broken taillight, the community reaction will be interesting to watch.  Getting killed for driving while black is supposed to happen in communities full of knuckle-dragging white supremacists, not in a village run by the enlightened elite employees of a famous university.  This despite the common observation that the police in such enclaves often get the message that part of their role is to be decidedly unfriendly to those who don’t look as though they belong among the elite.  There are a lot of cases out there of being stopped for driving while redneck that the same people who complain about profiling blacks don’t see as wrong.  The very nice 22-year-old son of friends often gets stopped on his way to and from remodeling work in certain elite neighborhoods because of the assumption that a long-haired kid, grimy from work and in an old truck, is up to no good.

I expect scapegoating from St. Anthony Park, not mea culpas for hypocrisy.