Chief Allender: Of Course I’d Hire a Racist

Local politics leads to interesting debates, and until recently, I thought I’d seen just about everything. But I have to hand it to Chief Allender — he leaves me speechless sometimes in a way no other opponent ever has, and our recent debate on KEVN Black Hills Fox (5/3/2015) was one of those times. Let me explain.

Accusations in lawsuits aren’t always supported by facts. However, Chief Allender was sued in federal court for racial discrimination by a fellow Rapid City police officer, and his history of racial slurs and jokes is documented in the “undisputed material facts”.

In addition, he now freely admits making racial jokes and slurs on the job. As a supervisor. On the taxpayer dime.

That’s cause for concern anywhere, but especially in Rapid City, where recent incidents have heightened racial tensions and made race relations an even more critical issue for Rapid City going forward.

So I asked Steve directly [8:50 into the debate]: As mayor, would you knowingly hire someone with a history of making racial jokes and slurs?

Well, of course. Of course I would!” he said. He then said, ” I assume that the mayor is insinuating that he’s never made such a terrible slur.” [9:10 into the debate]

Wow. That left me momentarily speechless! But let me officially confirm Chief Allender’s assumption: No, I haven’t made racial slurs or racial jokes. The Chief apparently finds it difficult to believe that most of us actually don’t make racial slurs against our neighbors, on the job or off.

It seems obvious to me that the Mayor’s office isn’t the place for someone with a documented history of racism, period — let alone Chief Allender’s brand of unrepentant, shoulder-shrugging, “everybody does it” attitude toward racist behavior. Electing someone with Chief Allender’s history and attitude as mayor would be a giant step backward for Rapid City.

Let’s be clear: Racist behavior — anywhere, but especially as a public servant on the taxpayer’s dime — is unacceptable, period. If you have a history of racial misconduct, then you don’t belong in the Mayor’s office. Period.