Former Minneapolis Police Deputy Chief Eddie Frizell is suing Chief Janeé Harteau and the city, saying he was demoted after running for Hennepin County sheriff.
According to the suit filed in the U.S. District Court in Minneapolis on Wednesday, Frizell took a 6-month leave of absence to run for Hennepin County Sheriff against incumbent Rich Stanek in 2014, and planned to return the week after the Nov. 4 election after an unsuccessful run.
"Chief Harteau told Frizell not to return until she was back from vacation, because she wanted to meet with him first. As a result, Frizell was forced to take additional unplanned vacation days while waiting for Chief Harteau's return," the suit says.
On Nov. 17, 2014, the suit says Harteau "met with Frizell and informed him that she was ‘moving [him] out of the front office.' When Frizell asked for an explanation, Chief Harteau said it was due to ‘team dynamics' and refused to elaborate."
The following day, the suit says Frizell was told that his position as Deputy Chief of Patrol had been eliminated because it "fit better" under the Assistant Chief, and he'd be moved to a newly created position, Commander of Operations and Administration," which the suit says is "lower ranked than Deputy Chief, and it also has a lower salary."
The suit seeks monetary damages and Frizell to be reinstated to his former command.
In a statement, Chief Harteau maintains "since day one, I have been focused on implementing and building MPD 2.0 to become a recognized and respected Law Enforcement leader in public safety strategies and service to our community."
Full statement from Chief Harteau
"As the Chief of the Minneapolis Police Department my number one priority is serving the residents of Minneapolis and the members of my department. Since day one, I have been focused on implementing and building MPD 2.0 to become a recognized and respected Law Enforcement leader in public safety strategies and service to our community. My decisions are based on what I believe will further benefit the department in achieving our goals of improving public safety, building public trust and increasing employee engagement and morale. As Police Chief I have made a number of organizational changes and will continue to make adjustments based on what is needed at that time in a particular area. I fully understand that not everyone will agree with the decisions I make, however, all of my decisions are grounded in our core values of commitment, integrity and transparency."