Chief Harteau responds to mayor's 4th Precinct rejection

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, in an unprecedented move Wednesday, rejected the appointment of Lt. John Delmonico to 4th Precinct Inspector, citing the need for “another kind of leadership for the next phase” of police-community relations in north Minneapolis.

The mayor’s statement came just hours after Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau announced Delmonico would be taking the 4th Precinct leadership post, and current Inspector Michael Kjos would move into a new role as Deputy Chief of the Operations Bureau. Thursday, Chief Harteau responded to the mayor’s decision, saying she’s “disappointed” and that she will look for someone similar to Delmonico if she must make a new appointment.

Minneapolis city code places the police chief's appointments "under the direction of the mayor," but the mayor has never rejected the chief's appointments for precinct inspector.

Chief Harteau’s statement regarding Mayor Hodges’ decision

”I am disappointed in Mayor Hodges’ decision to reverse my appointment of Lt. John Delmonico. As Chief, it is my responsibility to make personnel decisions that I see best for the operations and management of the department, and best serve our community. I chose Lt. Delmonico because of his countless, long standing community partnerships and the leadership he has demonstrated in his current role as the 4th Precinct nightwatch Lieutenant over the past year.

“If I must make a new appointment, I will work to select a person who exudes the same strengths and qualities as Lt. Delmonico, and I will continue to look to him as a leader in this department. As Chief of the MPD, public safety remains my top priority, and I will continue to move forward MPD 2.0, our progressive initiatives and community collaborations, and uplift the great work of the men and women of this department.”

Major Hodges statement blocking Delmonico’s appointment

“I have informed Chief Harteau that I celebrate the selection of current Fourth Precinct Inspector Mike Kjos as deputy chief. I have also informed her that John Delmonico will not be the inspector of the Fourth Precinct.

“I don’t make this decision lightly. Chief Harteau has been, and is, a good steward of the department, and I have supported her major personnel decisions. She has been a strong partner with me in advancing the most progressive policing work that any city in America is doing.

“I learned only today of the Chief’s decision. While I appreciate Lt. Delmonico’s many years of service, and believe that there are many leadership roles for which he could be a good fit, that does not include inspector of the Fourth Precinct.

“At this moment in the life of North Minneapolis, we need another kind of leadership for the next phase of the work that we are doing to build trust and transform relationships between police and community. Therefore, I have informed Chief Harteau that he will not serve as inspector of the Fourth Precinct.

“I look forward to working with Chief Harteau to find a new inspector for the Fourth Precinct.”

Statement from Lt. Bob Kroll, president of Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis

“Mayor Hodges’ continual meddling in department affairs only undercuts Chief Harteau’s leadership at an important time for Minneapolis. Calling into question her Chief’s ability to manage the MPD shows us why she was recently named one of ‘The Three Worst Mayors in America.’

"The decision yesterday to overrule Chief Harteau’s selection for inspector of the 4th Precinct, also reaffirms the findings of the recent Department of Justice Report, requested by the Mayor and Chief, that stated:

"'The mayor’s unfamiliarity with the implications of the terminology she used when in charge, likely contributed to the inconsistent direction given to MPD personnel and the resulting frustration among officers over poor communication and inconsistent, uncoordinated leadership.'

"Apparently, the Mayor has either not read the report or is not interested as she continues to undercut the department’s leadership. At a time when we need to compete to attract and retain the best people to serve our community, her misguided decisions only further erode officer moral and community trust. Leaving us all to wonder, ‘Who’s really in charge?”

Statement from Nekima Levy-Pounds, Minneapolis mayor candidate

"The initial selection of Lt. Delmonico by Chief Harteau to become the Inspector of the 4th Precinct is outrageous and disturbing. It is unfathomable that the Chief could make a decision of this magnitude without any prior knowledge of Mayor Hodges. The apparent rift in communication between Chief Harteau and Mayor Hodges signals the chronic dysfunction in the leadership of our city. Given the outcry from the Black community about this decision, it is imperative that the Mayor and the Chief allow for community input in the selection of the new 4th Precinct Inspector."

Latest chapter in ‘strained’ relationship

Mayor Hodges and Chief Harteau have had a rocky relationship that apparently dates back to Hodges’ days as a councilmember. But as mayor, there have been a handful of documented divides.

4TH PRECINCT PROTESTS: A Justice Department report released this past March on the City of Minneapolis response to the 4th Precinct protests after the police shooting of Jamar Clark cited a “strained” relationship between Mayor Hodges and Chief Harteau.

“The apparent strained relationship between Mayor Hodges and Chief Harteau, and the mayor’s unfamiliarity with the implications of the terminology she used when in charge, likely contributed to the inconsistent direction given to MPD personnel and the resulting frustration among officers over poor communication and inconsistent, uncoordinated leadership,” the report said.

POINTERGATE: In 2014, a man named Navell Gordon was working as a neighborhood canvasser in a get out the vote effort, and was photographed with Mayor Hodges, the two pointing at each other. KSTP-TV reported that the two were flashing a known gang sign, and the story went viral as #Pointergate. Delmonico served as the president of the Minneapolis Police Union at the time, and was among those who spoke out against the photo because he felt the hand gestures could be misconstrued as gang signs.

READ THIS NEXT - Minneapolis Police Chief makes Fortune's list of top world leaders