MINNEAPOLIS, MN – A high-ranking Minneapolis Police official was just recently demoted shortly after an interview with a local news outlet, where the official used what can be described as some poor phrasing when discussing racial disparity in the MPD’s makeup of officers.
A high-ranking Minneapolis police official was demoted after his use of the term "white boys" in a Star Tribune article prompted an internal backlash. https://t.co/n2pCd7mbbQ
— Star Tribune (@StarTribune) October 20, 2020
Art Knight from the MPD was previously serving as Police Chief, Medaria Arradondo’s chief of staff, but has since been demoted to his civil service rank of lieutenant.
While officials aren’t claiming there’s a direct correlation as of yet, this demotion happened to take place shortly after an article was published by the StarTribune that touched on a lack of black officers joining the ranks of the MPD.
Seeing that Lt. Art Knight is black, he was an obvious person to interview about what steps the MPD could take to help accomplish a more diverse workforce. In that October 18th article, columnist Liz Sawyer wrote the following and added a direct quote attributed to Lt. Knight that read:
“Top brass hopes to restore the program next year but admit they will have to take another look at the way the agency recruits, trains and promotes ethnic minorities and women on the force. 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.’”
While it’s certainly not the most controversial of expressions one could utter, it’s obviously not the most tactful either.
You know, you could've…I don't know…maybe paraphrased him? But yet, you specifically chose those exact words while paraphrasing just about everything else he said. Tip for the future I suppose. But I wouldn't be surprised if no one from the MPD speaks with you again.
— Greg Hoyt (@GregHoytLET) October 22, 2020
As mentioned earlier, an MPD spokesman will not confirm whether Lt. Knight’s demotion was related to his quoted comment in the article, or if it was related to anything else.
But the timing seems pretty convenient since Lt. Knight’s demotion was made public roughly two days after the article in question was published online.
Lt. Knight has since acknowledged that his phrasing was perhaps not the best when he was being interviewed about the racial and gender makeup of the MPD and areas of opportunity, but wanted to convey that his intent wasn’t to demean anyone because of their race:
“If I offended anybody with the verbiage of ‘boys,’ then I’m sorry. The message was about the lack of diversity, so it’s just frustrating to me — it’s like certain people are looking for an out, and not make it about a lack of diversity.”
While it is again unclear whether Lt. Knight’s comments led to his demotion, the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis did also issue a statement that encouraged any officer that was upset or offended by the “old white boys” quote to file a complaint with MPD officials.
According to the statement by the POFM, it referred to Lt. Knight’s comments as “racially charged”:
“These racially charged comments do nothing but further erode the integrity of this administration and their ability to be racially responsible when it comes to decisions for the department. Furthermore, it negatively impacts our officers’ abilities to police in diverse communities because it hints that these ‘old white boys’ are policing in an unprofessional racist manner.”
Council Member Jeremiah Ellison is among those that hold Lt. Knight in a very high regard.
While even he noted that the comments made by Lt. Knight can be digested as “distasteful”, they’re not comments that should be compared to the usage of a slur:
“Quite frankly you can say it’s distasteful or whatever, but at the end of the day it’s not slur, so I don’t think it should be treated as such.”
However, based upon an email that was sent out departmentwide within the MPD, Chief Medaria Arradondo did not appear to be at all amused with the verbiage used by Lt. Knight:
“Today a Star Tribune article quoted a member of my administration making a statement that used words that were hurtful, unacceptable and does not reflect the attitudes and values of our department. I want to apologize to all those who were offended by that statement.”
Chief Arradondo does have a history of not taking faux pas from MPD members lightly.
A Minneapolis police commander has been demoted after an online uproar over a Facebook post about homicide investigations that sparked controversy online and drew rebukes from both Chief Medaria Arradondo and the NAACP. https://t.co/OLqWS2wWub
— Star Tribune (@StarTribune) April 14, 2020
This is the same chief who demoted a commander back down to a lieutenant for a social media post making fun of someone misspelling “homicide” as “homocide” on a t-shirt.
Not to mention the time Chief Arradondo demoted another commander for decorating a department Christmas tree with packs of Newport cigarettes , malt liquor cans and fried chicken buckets.
North Minneapolis police commander demoted after Christmas tree controversy. https://t.co/LrLfaBDH23
— Jeff Esterholm 🦡 (@jesterholm) December 4, 2018
So, while no one is officially saying why Lt. Knight got a demotion, it’s pretty obvious why he got demoted.
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MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Since the death of George Floyd in police custody, police in the city of Minneapolis, Minn. have been under intense scrutiny. Right, wrong, or indifferent, many officers have begun to feel the strain. As a result of the strain, officers are filing for disability claims, which will most likely lead to leaving the force.
An attorney, Ron Meuser, told 5 Eyewitness News, that they currently have 175 officers who have filed disability claims and he believes there will be many more. Currently 100 officers are considering doing the same.
Meuser told the outlet:
“The 100 additional officers are doing their best to hang in there and not leave because they want to serve their community. But if there is more rioting in the near future, I would not be surprised to see the number of officers filing for disability to reach between 250 and 300 officers.”
Meuser claims that the disability filings are done for both physical and mental issues that have occurred since the civil unrest following the death of George Floyd. He also noted that the number of officers filing claims is almost double since this time last year.
“It is a particularly high number and it speaks to everything else these officers have gone through in the past year. It has been extremely tough physically and mentally for them and their families.”
What some people do not realize, or understand, is that officers get into police work to help people, to stand up for those that cannot stand up for themselves. Officers yearn to put the bad guys in jail and save the day; it has nothing to do with the color of the skin of the person they are arresting.
It also does not matter the gender, creed, or religion of the person who committed the crime. What matters to the officer is who did the crime. Officers, for the vast majority, will work just as hard to find and arrest a person responsible for harming a black person as they would a white person, justice is blind.
There are some examples, although few in comparison, of officers who are racist. What people do not understand is that good police officers who really care, despise those officers as much as the general population, if not worse.
There are many officers who despise the dirty cops, those who either commit crimes or are racist in some form. Why? Because those dirty cops give all cops a bad name. According to the USA Today, the numbers of founded misconduct of officers is quite low.
USA Today found that over 85,000 officers had been investigated for some type of abuse or other issue. Of those, 22,924 were for use of excessive force, again, these are complaints. It does not mean there is anything to them (we will explain later). Of those, 30,000 were found guilty and lost their police certification.
What does this mean overall? It means that just over one in 10 officers are investigated for something improper. Only around 25 percent of the time police complaints are made, they are for some type of alleged abuse or excessive use of force.
It also means that only 3.6 percent of officers are seemingly bad, and over 99 percent never engage in abuse of force. That is a huge contrast between what you are told to believe from the mainstream media and what is reality.
Use of force claims come out of almost every single time an officer uses force. Those who are the subject of the use of force, many times, will claim that it was excessive.
What those who complain do not know is that the supervisors of those officers thoroughly investigates those claims to ensure that there is not a bad cop among them. Supervising officers will obtain video surveillance of the situation and speak to witnesses in the area.
What we can say, with experience, is that the vast majority of times, these claims will be proven to be justified. If they are not, the supervisor will make that acknowledgement and ensure that the incident is investigated more thoroughly. Why? Because that supervising officer’s career, and retirement, is on the line if they are wrong.
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