Mayor Hodges, #pointergate, and social media spying

The KSTP story with Mayor Hodges doing stylish finger pointing has created a real buzz. But for me the underlying issues of this episode that the public or media are not asking about or may not understand need to be explored. Where did the picture come from? Was it a part of a law enforcement agency or agencies social media monitoring and surveillance activities that the picture was discovered? Or more of a direct question: Is it relevant to and interest of the public to know if an agency is engaging in cyber stalking of people, data collected for unknown purposes and then share with others? Continue Reading

BEHIND THE STORY | #Pointergate: A learning opportunity about disenfranchisement

Everybody’s talking about #Pointergate, the absurd KSTP story of Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, where she is supposedly flashing a gang sign with a 22-year-old man from north Minneapolis who is working to get out the vote.Yes, on one level, this is a story that reeks of disgruntled police officers/ex police officers airing a vendetta against the current chief of police and mayor for their efforts to “clean house” by chipping away at the old guard and instituting new policies such as body cameras that will make the force more accountable. As others have pointed out, there seems to be no coincidence that the KSTP story came out just prior to the roll out of the new body cams.Read more TC Daily Planet coverage of this issue.But there’s another level to this story as well. Here we have Navell Gordon, a young man who has served time for a felony and is currently unable to vote because his probation period hasn’t ended. Working with the Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, Gordon was helping others in his community to vote where he could not. That’s something that should be applauded and his situation is one that offers an opportunity for reflection about the ways that people of color still are systemically disenfranchised.Earlier this fall, the ACLU released a report that took a look at the racial disparities of arrests in Minneapolis, and the numbers are quite shocking. Continue Reading

KSTP reports Mayor Hodges flashing gang sign; Social media erupts in anger

Some Minneapolis residents are outraged over a KSTP report claiming Mayor Betsy Hodges allegedly flashed a gang sign with a Northside man with a criminal history.5 Eyewitness News reported on Nov. 6 that a photo they obtained shows Hodges and now identified north Minneapolis resident Navell Gordon flashing gang signs. The photo, KSTP reports, was taken a week before the November elections, and shows Hodges and Gordon pointing at one another and smiling. KSTP’s reporter Jay Kolls said on his Twitter account that the hand gesture is a known gang sign of the north Minneapolis gang Stick Up Boys. KSTP has the photo posted on their website.Read more TC Daily Planet coverage of this issue.But many residents disagree and have expressed their dissent via social media. Continue Reading