MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Two officers filed complaints against the Minneapolis Police Department alleging discrimination and unfair discipline after they spoke critically of the department to members of the media.
Then Deputy Chief Arthur Knight, a 28-year veteran of the department, was demoted after he told the Star-Tribune about some of the concerns he had over resources for recruiting staff with diverse backgrounds.
The 2021 article run by the Tribune was discussing the lack of diversity in law enforcement in Minnesota. It states that of the roughly 11,000 officers across the state, only 270 were black. That article quoted Knight.
“If you keep employing the same tactics,” said MPD chief of staff Art Knight, “you’re just going to get the same old white boys.”
Knight, who is black, alleges that his demotion was racially motivated, saying it was “a result of long-running, race-biased headwinds inside the MPD.”
His suit alleged that he was removed from a role “where he stood a chance at making changes within the department that murdered George Floyd and so desperately needs to better reflect the community it’s sworn to protect.”
The Minneapolis City Council voted to settle Knight’s complaint for $70,000.
Keep in mind, this is the same city council led by its president, Lisa Bender. She wants to dismantle the police in Minneapolis.
In a recent interview, she told CNN’s Alison Camerota that calling the police when your home has been broken into come from a place of privilege.
Camerota asked if Bender understands what dismantling the police actually means and that it makes some people nervous.
Her response to calling the police?
“Yes. I mean, I, I hear that loud and clear from a lot of my neighbors. And I know, and, and myself, too, and I know that that comes from a place of privilege. Because for those of us for whom the system is working, I think we need to step back and imagine what it would feel like to already live in that reality where calling the police may mean more harm’s done.”
So, now that the suit has been settled, what are Knight’s plans?
According to MPR News, attorneys for Knight at Haller Kwan LLP released a statement.
“Lt. Knight is pleased to put this chapter behind him and focus on his health, family and advocacy,” the statement said, pointing to Knight preparing to transition to civilian life.
Another officer just reached a settlement payday.
Former officer Colleen Ryan was interviewed by GQ magazine under the pseudonym Megan Jones, knowing that she was prohibited from speaking with media without authorization.. In part, she described the MPD as having a toxic culture. She was issued a letter of reprimand by former chief Medaria Arradondo.
Now, she is getting a check form the city for $133,600.
According to the chief’s decision, Ryan initiated contact with the article’s author, Laura Bassett, via Twitter.
It also states that the internal investigation found that Ryan knew that Bassett was working on the piece, but agreed to discuss the MPD, and shared her opinions about the department knowing that what they discussed would be used in the article.
Ryan admitted that she was indeed the individual identified as Megan Jones, but stated that she regretted the negative publicity that the article brought to the department.
At the end of the day, she was reprimanded for willfully violating department policy.
Ryan described the MPD as employing officers who were “overwhelmingly straight, white, conservative men” who were Trump supporters that often “ostracized and harassed the few black and female officers in the department. She described herself as a liberal feminist.
For what investigators deemed to be a blatant violation, the city council has awarded her roughly two years of salary.
The settlements come on the heels of close to $50M in payouts to the families of George Floyd and Justine Ruszczyk.
The city has also been looking into settling other claims of former officers who left the force after the unrest seen as part of the “peaceful” protests in the city. Much of the estimated $35M is based off worker’s compensation claims for physical and mental injuries sustained while working the protests.
Minneapolis is not the only city spending a fortune to deal with and settle lawsuits against their police departments. We invite you to:
Chicago spends nearly $40 million a year on outside law firms – mostly over ridiculous lawsuits targeting police
CHICAGO, IL – Chicago’s legal bills to external law firms is already amassing a huge sum.
According to ABC 7, in a five-year period, the city had a bill that was approximately $200 million in outside legal fees.
Of those, 75% were spent on cases for the police department. These accounted for the most costly of all.
The city of Chicago spends nearly $40 million a year on outside legal council for lawsuits, most of which are against the Chicago Police Department. https://t.co/vmuqYi8EK7
— ABC 7 Chicago (@ABC7Chicago) May 3, 2022
Greg Kulis, an attorney for one of the individuals suing the city, said,
“It’s kind of comical that the city of Chicago has three law firms representing the two officers in the city of Chicago alleging that their actions were justified yet, when we get called by the superintendent’s lawyers who are saying well, we want to help us get these officers indicted.
So, the city of Chicago is spending money on both sides of the tracks.
And Ariel is sitting here just trying to move on with his life.”
Kulis is defending Ariel Roman, who is suing the city because he was shot two years ago. He was unarmed at the time the Chicago police officer shot him.
Roman sued the officers and the city since he says he still experiences both physical and emotional suffering from the incident.
“I’m afraid to go outside…it has impacted my life.
I was shot twice, one directly into the stomach.
And the second one when I was fleeing on the escalator.”
BREAKING NEWS: Chicago Police Officer Melvina Bogard has been charged with two felonies in the 2020 shooting of Ariel Roman, an unarmed man, at a CTA Red Line station. https://t.co/UCxj5Yz6AP
— CBS Chicago (@cbschicago) August 5, 2021
Allegedly in February 2020, Roman was walking in between train cars. The officers saw this and attempted to arrest Roman. Footage from the incident showed Roman resisting arrest, which led to Roman being tased and then shot.
Melvina Bogard and Bernard Butler, the Chicago police officers involved in the shooting, have a case pending with the police board. Officer Bogard has pleaded not guilty.
Until now, the city has paid almost $250,000 to two external law firms on this case. Roman remarked:
“If they’re willing to spend all this money for all this trouble and yeah, they can’t give me not one dime.“
The police subpoenaed Roman to the police board for CPD’s case recommending Bogard and Butler be fired. He said:
“Now they’re requesting from me to help them to indict or at least fire them.”
Cook County prosecutors dropped all charges against the man who was shot by Chicago police during a struggle at a CTA Red Line station. The man, Ariel Roman, remained hospitalized at Northwestern Memorial Hospital on Sunday. https://t.co/lv04J8Of6V
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) March 1, 2020
Roman is frustrated after watching other cases around the country find a resolution. He noted:
“It is very traumatizing. Nobody deserves to go through this, ever.”
The City of Chicago’s Law Department said in response that “litigation strategies are confidential.”
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