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After racist phone call, Columbia Heights City Council calls for member to resign

The Columbia Heights City Council has passed a resolution for the second time asking one of its members who allegedly made a racist phone call to a biracial candidate to resign.

But a defiant KT Jacobs said she would not give up her seat.

On Monday, the council voted unanimously in favor of the resolution proposed by council member Connie Buesgens, which was followed by no discussion. Jacobs abstained from voting.

“I feel like when you’re elected your city official, your name and your word should be paramount to whatever we hope it will be, and I don’t believe that anymore,” Mayor Amáda said. Marquez. Simula said before the vote.

A recall effort was also launched on Monday by a group called Concerned Citizens of Columbia Heights. The group has opened an online petition and has scheduled a signature-gathering evening for 5 p.m. on May 30 at Huset Park.

Jacobs “engaged in unethical behavior in the run-up to the last election,” reads a statement on the group’s online petition site. “The petition seeks to restore trust, accountability and integrity to the City Council, making it clear that the community will not tolerate unethical behavior and disrespect towards constituents.”

Jacobs, whose term expires in 2025, has been in the hot seat since last summer. Jacobs is accused of calling candidate Judge Spriggs, who is biracial, and using a false name to question him about his racial identity and qualifications for the position.

Spriggs was elected to the council and now sits right next to Jacobs on the dais.

The city hired independent firm Red Cedar Consulting to investigate the July 24, 2022 call in which Jacobs allegedly asked Spriggs about his racial identity, including asking which members of his family were people of color.

The report found that Jacobs had made “misrepresentations” and failed to conduct herself ethically and in accordance with the city council’s code of conduct.

After accepting the report, the board passed a resolution in October to censure Jacobs and remove her from boards and commissions.

At the time of the incident, Jacobs claimed a family member used his phone without his knowledge and called Spriggs. She issued an apology, saying “I am deeply sorry that the incident took place”.

In an email to the Star Tribune on Tuesday, Jacobs said she stood by her statement from last summer.

Deeqa Shabbele, a Black Muslim woman who lives in Columbia Heights, spoke to the council, and specifically Jacobs, at the open forum on Monday.

“I don’t feel safe because you’re sitting right there,” she said. “I don’t feel seen. Are you scared of me? If so, you need to quit because you don’t represent me anymore. When you don’t see me and I don’t feel safe, I hope you quit.”

Jacobs abruptly left the meeting, stating that a policy was not being followed.

Ed Higgins, leader of Concerned Citizens of Columbia Heights, said he hopes people will turn out on May 30 and “be part of a movement to stand up for racial justice and unethical behavior in our community.” .

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