The news is out: [A Minneapolis police officer fired for decorating a Christmas tree with racist items inside the department’s fourth precinct in November 2018 has been reinstated, CBS Minnesota reported. An arbitrator overturned the department’s decision to terminate the officer, Mark Bohnsack, ruling that he was wrongfully terminated.
Bohnsack will instead serve a 320-hour suspension, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. A department spokesman told the paper another officer fired over the incident, Brandy Steberg, has not been reinstated but did not provide further details.
The community demanded the officers be fired after an image posted on social media showed the tree decorated with racist items, including menthol cigarettes, a can of malt liquor and a cup from a fried chicken restaurant, CBS Minnesota reported. Advocates said the incident was indicative of racist attitudes of some officers who patrol predominantly Black neighborhoods in the city’s north side, where the fourth precinct is located.
“When this happened, communities were really upset. People were ready to make some action happen and they did, right, we put the pressure on and they did,” Chauntyll Allen, a community leader for Black Lives Matter Twin Cities, told CBS Minnesota. “Now two years later when they think no one’s watching, they just welcome these racists back into the institution to come patrol our streets again, and that’s just not okay.”]