RED WING -- The City Council will consider formally denouncing the display of hate symbols on public property. At Monday night's meeting, they approving four recommendations from the Advisory Team on sexual assault cases.

Michelle Leise is the city’s community engagement facilitator. She gave the council a report on the discussion around denouncing the display of hate symbols. She stated, “As you know, over the past year this question has been raised periodically whether Red Wing can ban the display of hate symbols on public property. At the workshop, council discussed and expressed some concern over some of the displays this summer in public parks including the Confederate flag.”

While discussing the possible denouncement of hate symbols -- those discussed at the meeting included the Confederate flag and swastikas -- there are numerous factors that the city has to take into consideration including:

  • Currently, no one is allowed to hang signs or flags on public property without city consent, which would include hate speech symbols along with any other displays.

  • Any ban on the display of hate symbols could not be used to prevent individuals from wearing the symbols.

  • Any ban on the display of hate symbols could not be used to prevent individuals from displaying the symbols on personal property (for example vehicles).

The City Council decided that the next step in this process is asking staff to draft a resolution about denouncing the display of these symbols on public property in Red Wing and requesting the state to enact a law banning the display of hate symbols on public property. This resolution will be sent to the Human Rights Commission for discussion before returning to the City Council.

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Advisory Team recommendations

Leise's report included four recommendations regarding the police department and responses to sexual assault cases: The recommendations from the team were:

  • Police Department representatives will work closely with HOPE Coalition to review in detail the "You Have Options" program and bring back a report to the Advisory Team in late spring on how the police department could potentially implement this program into their procedures.

  • Police Department representatives will work closely with HOPE Coalition to review in detail forensic experiential trauma interview training and bring back a report to the Advisory Team in summer on if and how the RWPD could potentially implement this training with detectives and officers.

  • Police Department detectives and HOPE Coalition advocates will set up a series of meetings throughout the year to build relationships among each other that will be helpful when they work on cases together.

  • Police Department will prioritize hiring a bilingual officer.

Council President Becky Norton suggested a change to the final recommendation, specifically addressing Black, indigenous and people of color or BIPOC.

“We do have a couple of bilingual police officers," she said. "It's not so much that our hiring practices in the police department need to be bilingual, but that maybe we should be looking at more BIPOC individuals or people with bilingual background across the board and in other positions, rather than just focusing on the police department.”

The six council members in attendance voted in favor of the recommendations with Norton’s suggested changes to the fourth item. Evan Brown was absent.