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St. Paul mayor, mayoral candidate call for Police Federation board's resignation

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Chris Coleman
In this Oct. 23, 2014 photo, St. Paul, Minn. Mayor Chris Coleman speaks at Macalester College in St. Paul.
Ann Heisenfelt | AP 2014

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman is calling on the St. Paul Police Federation board to resign after it demanded the serial number of two handguns stolen from the home of mayoral candidate Melvin Carter. The situation escalated Thursday after a mailer went out tying the theft of the guns to the rising number of shootings in the city. 

In a statement released Thursday night, Coleman said the board and police federation president Dave Titus have "embarrassed the good men and women of the St. Paul Police Department."

Mayoral candidate Pat Harris also released a statement calling for the board's resignation.

In his statement Harris said that there are hundreds of officers dedicated to serving their community. "However, there is absolutely no place in Saint Paul for the type of dirty, political tactics and dog whistle racism that have come from the Saint Paul Police Federation's leadership over the past few days," he said.

Titus said in a written response that Coleman should be more concerned with levels of crime in St. Paul than his campaign for governor.

"We appreciate Mayor Coleman's new found interest in St. Paul after spending so much time on his gubernatorial campaign. I only wish he focused that concern on the tragic levels of crime the people he is supposed to represent are dealing with," Titus said.

Coleman's request for the resignations came after a back-and-forth between the federation and Carter's campaign. The federation argued the serial numbers of the stolen guns are important to prevent and help solve violent crimes. Carter's campaign argued the federation's actions show how minorities are presumed guilty.

The union later said it did not mean to "revictimize" the Carter family but said its earlier statements were not racist.

In a statement released Thursday, a spokesperson for Carter's campaign called on other candidates to denounce the federation's actions, as well as their support.