Diamond Reynolds, who watched in horror when her boyfriend Philando Castile was fatally shot in front of her by a police officer in 2016, received an $800,000 settlement this week from two Minnesota cities for the trauma she endured, both for witnessing the shooting and for being wrongly arrested afterward.
On Tuesday night, the St. Anthony City Council voted to pay Reynolds $675,000 for her emotional distress and wrongful arrest. The League of Minnesota Cities and the city of Roseville pitched in $125,000.
However, noteveryone is happy with the settlement. Elysian city councilman Tom McBroom predicted would be spent within six months on crack cocaine. When challenged on why he’d think a woman with no crack-related criminal history would squander her boyfriend’s blood money that way, McBroom answered, “History.”
In addition to being an elected official in the tiny southwestern Minnesota town of about 600, McBroom is also a sergeant of the Rice County Sheriff’s Office. That had Twitter users who stumbled upon his racist invective worried about his ability to objectively enforce the law.
Rice County Chief Deputy Jesse Thomas said Wednesday that he will be reviewing the incident.
City Pages reached out to McBroom on Facebook, asking him to address the tweets.
McBroom responded, “Who said I was Law Enforcement or council member. I’m a general contractor. Wrong person. Sorry.”
Nevertheless, several photos in McBroom’s Facebook profile showed him wearing the Rice County Sheriff’s Office uniform, and another is identical to his official portrait on the Elysian City Council website. City Pages asked Chief Deputy Thomas to verify the Facebook profile.
Later, McBroom called and admitted to denying his identity, “Just to screw with you. Because I can.”
He claimed people misunderstood his comment about “history,” explaining he was referring to the universal temptation of spending, rather than saving, large instant payouts. He lamented the lack of money management in cases of police settlements.
“I’ve seen them come to court. They’ve lost their children, but they come to court dressed to the nines with Michael Kors purses. To be frank with you, they don’t have a pot to piss in,” McBroom said. “I see it time and time again and I just shake my head and say why wasn’t there anyone to help that person?”
Asked then why he invoked crack cocaine specifically, McBroom rejected the notion that his comment had anything to do with race. Instead, he thought it was a common purchase for anyone in the cities.
“I have friends of mine in the Minneapolis Police Department. And you know, that’s an epidemic up there, crack cocaine and opioids.”
Later in the interview, he inexplicably attempted to deny having mentioned crack cocaine at all.
“No where did I say they would spend all that money on crack. I said they would spend it in six months. At no point did I say on crack cocaine.”