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Deputy Chief Says Minneapolis Officers Walked Off Job Without Even Filing Paperwork

Minneapolis, MN – At least seven Minneapolis police officers have quit their jobs due to a lack of support from city and department leaders, according to police.

At least seven more are in the process of resigning from the force, and officers have managed to convince several others to hold off on quitting for now, according to the Star Tribune.

Deputy Chief Henry Halvorson sent an e-mail to supervisors which said that some officers have walked off the job without filing paperwork, leaving confusion about who is and isn’t working, according to USA Today.

The sudden exit comes in the wake of the May 25 in-custody death of 46-year-old George Floyd, which sparked violent uprisings in cities throughout the United States.

Rioters have clashed with police while looting and torching hundreds of buildings in Minneapolis, to include the Minneapolis Police Department’s (MPD) Third Precinct, which was reduced to ashes.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey had ordered police to abandon the precinct shortly before it was destroyed – a move that officers said left them demoralized and angry, the Star Tribune reported.

In the weeks that followed, rioters have attacked police with bricks, bottles, explosive devices and various other objects.

Multiple officers have been injured during the altercations.

Meanwhile, many city and state lawmakers have denounced the department as a whole.

“You can’t really reform a department that is rotten to the root,” U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar told CNN. “What you can do is rebuild, and so this is our opportunity.”

Omar said that Minneapolis is “committed to dismantling a department that is beyond repair so that the community has the space to come together to reimagine what public safety looks like.”

After plans to disband the MPD were blocked because the city charter requires them to fund the department, the City Council voted Friday to create a “transformative new model” of policing.

The plan involves starting a task force to figure out how police could be replaced by “community solutions” to public safety.

A human rights investigation into the department has also been launched, according to the Star Tribune.

Retired Minneapolis Police Officer Mylan Masson said that officers are left wondering why they should bother sticking around.

“They don’t feel appreciated,” Masson, a use-of-force expert, told the Star Tribune. “Everybody hates the police right now. I mean everybody.”

“It’s a stressful job,” Masson added. “Their families are asking, ‘Is it worth it?”

Several of the officers who have quit the department in recent weeks said in their exit interviews that they felt abandoned by City Hall and MPD leaders.

An unknown number of other officers simply walked off the job, MPD Deputy Chief Henry Halvorson suggested in an email to police supervisors in early June, according to the Star Tribune.

“I have heard secondhand information that there have been employees that have advised their supervisors that they separated with the city [or quit] without completing paperwork,” Chief Halvorson wrote. “We need to have the process completed to ensure that we know who is continuing to work.”

MPD spokesperson John Elder said that the department isn’t worried about the number of officers it has lost so far.

“There’s nothing that leads us to believe that at this point the numbers are so great that it’s going to be problematic,” Elder told the Star Tribune. ““People seek to leave employment for a myriad [of] reasons — the MPD is no exception.”

Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association Executive Director Andy Skoogman said he is concerned about the uphill battle to recruit and retain future officers.

Low pay, high turnover rates and a negative attitude towards law enforcement has resulted in a 25 percent drop in the number of police applicants throughout the nation, the Star Tribune reported.

“Perhaps it’s an opportunity to bring in new blood and new people, but I worry that there simply aren’t the candidates out there” to fill the gaps, Skoogman told the Star Tribune.

Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was arrested on May 29 and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in connection with Floyd’s death during his arrest. His charges have since been upgraded to second-degree murder.

On June 3, former Minneapolis Police Officers Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder for their role in Floyd’s arrest.

The officers had responded to a call about a counterfeit $20 that Floyd had allegedly used to make a purchase at a deli.

Store employees pointed out the suspect to police and they arrested him.

The complaint used to charge Chauvin said Floyd actively resisted arrest and then fought being put in the back of a police car once he had been handcuffed.

Viral cell phone video showed then-Officer Chauvin and three other officers holding Floyd on the ground.

The video showed Officer Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, during which time the suspect lost consciousness.

Chauvin remained on Floyd’s neck for almost three minutes after he was unresponsive.

Floyd was pronounced dead 90 minutes later at the hospital.

After three days of violent riots and looting that left Minneapolis and its sister city, St. Paul, in flames, the state investigative agency announced it making an arrest.

Chauvin was taken into custody by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension four days after the incident and held on a $500,000 bond, Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington announced, according to WCCO.

According to charging documents, the medical examiner’s preliminary report found no physical evidence that Floyd had suffered from asphyxiation or strangulation at the hands of the Minneapolis police.

The preliminary autopsy findings indicated Floyd had died from a combination of his underlying medical problems and possible substances.

“The combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death,” according to the complaint.

But veteran forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden told reporters on Monday at the Floyd family press conference that his independent autopsy determined that the man had died of asphyxiation much in the same way Eric Garner died from a choke hold in New York in 2014, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

The Eric Garner autopsy report showed no damage to any area of his neck, and it was determined that he died of a medical emergency induced by officers who were arresting him.

But the final autopsy findings released by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office hours later confirmed that Floyd had died from heart failure.

“Cause of death: Cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression,” Floyd’s autopsy said. “Manner of death: Homicide.”

“How injury occurred: Decedent experienced a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s),” the report continued. “Other significant conditions: Arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease; fentanyl intoxication; recent methamphetamine use.”

The toxicology results showing fentanyl and methamphetamine directly contradicted assertions by the forensic pathologist that Floyd’s family’s attorneys hired to dispute the initial medical examiner’s report.

And a postmortem nasal swab showed that Floyd tested positive SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, according to KSTP. He had previously tested positive for COVID-19 in April 3.

Protests erupted in the Twin Cities after Floyd’s death, leaving both Minneapolis and the state’s capital of St. Paul burned, looted, and destroyed.

Rioters overran and torched the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Precinct where the officers accused of Floyd’s homicide were assigned.

Protests spread across the United States, and became very violent in major cities like Atlanta, Dallas, Portland, Oakland, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, St. Louis, and Washington, DC.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin

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