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Deputy chief suspended; denies allegations
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Minneapolis Police Chief William McManus suspended three officers in the investigation of the shooting of Officer Duy Ngo (far left) a year ago. Deputy Chief Lucy Gerold (far right), was one of those suspended. Also pictured: Mayor R.T. Rybak. (MPR Photo/Art Hughes)
A Minneapolis deputy police chief suspended with two other officers denies allegations she ordered the destruction of an internal memo. Police Chief William McManus suspended Lucy Gerold and two officers who serve under her, while the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension conducts an investigation. The suspension comes less than two weeks after McManus took office promising a zero-tolerance stance on police misconduct.

Minneapolis, Minn. — Police Chief McManus says he can't go into the specifics of the case that's now under investigation by the BCA, but he confirms it relates to the shooting of officer Duy Ngo by another officer a year ago. McManus says he had no choice but to call for an outside investigation after Capt. Mike Martin and Lt. Mike Carlson came to him with information with what McManus calls "possible criminal overtones."

"I didn't have any alternative but to do what I did. I was caught between a rock and a hard place with nowhere to go," says McManus. "And had I sat on that information, they might be investigating me right now."

Martin and Carlson are on paid leave along with Gerold. McManus won't say if all three are the subject of the investigation.

"I have to commend Capt. Martin and Lt. Carlson for coming forward with the information. They certainly proved they were men for doing that and have a lot of integrity," McManus says.

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Image Lucy Gerold

Through her lawyer, David Lillehaug, Lucy Gerold denied a request for an interview. She issued a written statement saying she's stunned and baffled by the chief's actions. She says information that she ordered the destruction of an internal memorandum is "absolutely and unequivocally not true," and she told McManus that.

Gerold says the memo to her was not destroyed and that McManus has the memo. Gerold says she would not compromise the public trust she's built in her 27-year career, and wants her reputation restored.

Duy Ngo is preparing to return to police work after a year on leave, after being shot during a drug investigation. Ngo says an unknown assailant shot him in his bulletproof vest as he sat in his car in south Minneapolis. Then another officer, Charles Storlie, responding to Ngo's call for help, mistook Ngo for the suspect and shot him with a type of machine gun. Ngo was wounded in his arm, legs and groin.

McManus has championed Ngo's case, choosing to visit Ngo at his house only hours after the chief's swearing-in ceremony. Last week, he appeared with Ngo at a press conference to quell rumors that Ngo shot himself to get out of military duty.

A BCA spokesman says their investigation will not reopen the Ngo shooting, but will look into the way certain facts were handled. He says the investigation starts Monday and will last at least three weeks.

Deptuty Chief Gerold was one of two internal finalists competing with McManus to replace outgoing Police Chief Robert Olson. McManus vehemently denies Gerold's suspension is payback for challenging him.

"I've stated to Lucy, individually and publicly, I supported her and look forward to working with her, and that still stands," McManus says. "I don't have time for this vindictiveness, or to become defensive about this. This is absolutely ludicrous. It's absurd."

McManus also says he's puzzled by the attention the suspensions have generated among the media.

"It's standard procedure to put police officers on administrative leave when there's an investigation of this nature, no matter what their rank. And if I've done this once I've done it a hundred times," McManus says.

Once the BCA completes the investigation, it hands the findings over to the Minneapolis city attorney, who will decides whether it warrants prosecution.

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