More from MPR
Minneapolis, Minn. — Police Chief William McManus suspended Lt. Mike Carlson, Capt. Mike Martin and Deputy Chief Lucy Gerold, and asked for a BCA investigation into allegations that the officers ordered the destruction of an internal memo.
The memo was critical of the department's handling of the shooting of officer Duy Ngo by another officer. Ngo was shot last Feburary while Ngo was working undercover. The memo details mistakes by officers investigating the shooting.
McManus told the BCA that Martin told him that he overheard either former Chief Robert Olson or Gerold say that someone should "get rid of it," meaning the memo.
However, Bloomington City Attorney Dave Ornstein says there was no evidence of a criminal violation. Ornstein reviewed the BCA report at the request of the Minneapolis city attorney. He says the phrase "get rid of it" was vague and led to a misunderstanding on McManus' part.
"It's probably understandable that McManus may have interpreted that as someone, if not expressly (said) -- implied -- that somebody get rid of the memo. I think that when you look at the investigative report as a whole, what was probably intended -- whatever the conversation was -- that this should be kept for internal consumption," says Ornstein.
McManus has said he felt he had no choice but to order the investigation and suspend the officers. And he says the suspensions are just part of normal procedure when officers are investigated. However, the transcript from Lt. Mike Martin's interview with BCA agents includes testimony suggesting the chief may have had other intentions, because Gerold was McManus' competitor for the chief's job. Olson.
'I'm going to tell him, look ... you little son of a bitch, I know what you were doing. I know you were politicking against me ... and if you ever try to stab me in the back again I'm going to take you out.'
"In the words of Chief McManus to Capt. Mike Martin referring to Lucy Gerold, 'You don't need to worry about her anymore," says Gerold's attorney David Lillehaug. "Then Martin says, referring to McManus, 'He said he was going to take her out. He used those exact words -- that he was going to take her out.'"
Lillehaug was reading from the BCA's interview with Capt. Martin. In another passage, Martin describes a conversation he had with McManus about Lt. Mike Carlson, who was also suspended.
"McManus also told me he was aware that Mike Carlson, my lieutentant, had politicked on behalf of Lucy Gerold to be chief. Just so you know -- this is McManus speaking -- 'I'm going to have a conversation with him about that. I'm going to tell him, look, you know, you little son of a bitch' -- and he was pointing his finger like that -- 'I know what you were doing. I know you were politicking against me ... and if you ever try to stab me in the back again I'm going to take you out.'"
Martin's deposition alleges that McManus told him he was going to put Carlson "on notice that he expects loyalty out of him." Martin's testimony also says he didn't know why the chief was telling him this. However, Martin told BCA interviewers that the chief knew he supported Carlson.
Gerold says she was upset at reading Martin's account of his conversations with the chief. She says she didn't anticipate the suspension because she says McManus didn't speak with her about the memo or the Ngo investigation before she was relieved of duty.
"Absolutely not," she says. "Not in my wildest dreams."
Despite the controversy, Gerold said she could continue to work with McManus in the future.
"My primary responsibilities are to the city of Minneapolis, to the police department and to the citizens of this community," Gerold says. "And to the extent that my everyday work involves all of those folks, I can work with (McManus)."
McManus denies the suspensions were based on anything other than the advice he was given by the city attorney. He stands by his decision. However, McManus didn't refute Martin's testimony.
"It's an allegation, and I won't comment on anything I personally said in private conversations with those individuals," says McManus.
An attorney for Martin said he had no comment. Carlson's attorney did not immediately comment.
Gerold and the other suspended officers have said there was no attempt by any of them to suppress the Duy Ngo memo. They will all be back on duty Monday.
Sgt. John Delmonico, president of the Minneapolis police union, said Friday's announcement from the outside investigators proved McManus was rash.
"You'd think for the chief to make the decisions he did to warrant a criminal investigation to send three officers home with pay, you'd think he certainly would have had his facts in order."
The Minneapolis Police Department will conduct an Internal Affairs investigation of the memo incident.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)