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Red Wing officials deny racial profiling

Red Wing city officials say they are puzzled by allegations that police have been singling out people driving out of the Prairie Island Indian Community.

In a Dec. 5 letter to the city, the Prairie Island Tribal Council requested the Red Wing police department re-evaluate its procedures.

"We are writing to express our concerns about what appears to be an increase in profiling vehicles and individuals leaving the reservation," according to the letter, which was included in City Council Administrator Kay Kuhlmann's twice-monthly update.

The letter indicates community members, employees and patrons leaving the area have been arbitrarily profiled in traffic stops and investigations.

Those concerns form "serious allegations," according to a Dec. 8 response letter signed by Mayor Donna Dummer and police Chief Tim Sletten.

Sletten vehemently denied the accusations.

"Absolutely not," he said, when asked if Red Wing police have been profiling people leaving the reservation. "We never had, we never would, we never will."

Sletten said he was left perplexed by the two-sentence letter. The letter was so vague, "it's difficult to tell what the council's referring to," he said.

The city's letter requests a meeting to discuss the allegations.

Sletten said Friday he had not received a response.

"It is indeed unfortunate that those who felt that they were being 'profiled' did not or could not contact the police department directly so we could discuss their situation," the city letter states.

Asked if he has ever received complaints of profiling in connection to the Prairie Island Indian Community, Sletten said, "Not that I recall."

A spokeswoman said Friday that the community plans to address the matter privately with the city and will not comment publicly until after the joint meeting. It was unknown when that meeting will be.