Weinberger apologizes, says racial equity leader should have led police assessment

Published: Mar. 18, 2021 at 8:00 AM EDT|Updated: Mar. 18, 2021 at 12:20 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Burlington’s mayor is apologizing for a decision he now calls a “mistake.”

It’s about who was to oversee an independent contractor’s assessment of the Burlington Police Department.

Mayor Miro Weinberger’s office says he planned to have Kyle Dodson do it, but Dodson’s term as director of police transformation ended while the assessment is still ongoing.

So the mayor’s team says he asked the head of the Burlington Electric Department, a white man, to take over that task.

That sparked outrage and calls to have the city’s director of racial equity, inclusion and belonging, Tyeastia Green, a Black woman, oversee the contract.

The mayor says he’s sorry he didn’t ask Green to do the job in the first place. He now has and Green has accepted.

Weinberger says he is working on his own bias.

“My initial decision regarding management of the project would not have fully served these critical goals. This decision was wrong and reveals my own bias, and I must work transparently to address that. Specifically, I see now that my focusing with this decision on achieving “neutrality” in the way that the process was managed was wrong and reflected the wrong priorities,” Weinberger said in a statement Wednesday. “In not asking Director Tyeastia Green to manage this assessment, I belied the deep respect and appreciation that I have for her.”

Weinberger says the goal is to achieve racial justice in law enforcement and maintain public safety.

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