Sheriff Stanek Blames Racial Diversification for Increase in Suburban Crime
Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, in a report by the Star Tribune from early September, claimed that the recent 27% increase in violent crime in the County’s suburbs was due to racial diversification of the nations population.
That comment was not scrutinized through records request by the Star Tribune, and that’s where the North Star Post began inquiries.
The Post submitted a government data practices act request, similar to a Freedom of Information Act request but within the realm of state and local government. The request simply asked for the criminal data that the Sheriff used to back up his claim that the jump in crime was due to immigration and racial demographic shifts within the metro area.
Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) personnel responded with the following information which is clearly absent of any information on the offenders, or victims, and any information on the demographics involved.
As this could have been a simple oversight, since many records requests are filed and processed daily, we followed up twice over email for clarification. No further responses were provided to our repeat efforts which as is due diligence to the process of reporting, warranted an in-person attempt.
Luckily, upon arrival to the HCSO a civilian public information officer (PIO) was a few paces behind and a conversation ensued. This PIO insisted that racial information is not collected. When asked how the Sheriff arrived at the claim that crime jumped up significantly due to demographic changes especially race, the PIO was unable to corroborate his assertions and instructed the Post to direct further questions to the man himself.
We will continue trying to get the Sheriff to either back his claims up with statistical evidence or hold the office accountable for false statements that can be perceived to have a distasteful and racist tone.