GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. (FOX 9) - Following a months-long investigation, the city of Golden Valley is releasing the results of an independent report detailing numerous violations of data practices laws and offensive statements made within the police department. The investigation was launched as the city was in the midst of hiring a new police chief earlier this year.
At a March city council meeting, Mayor Shep Harris called the chief hiring process into question, saying he thought "the search process has been negatively impacted by a group of people within the police department."
He claimed it, "created numerous conflicts of interest and created an environment where some residents and city staff don't feel safe being in the same room with some police officers." Harris later walked back those comments, but the investigation was approved by the city council.
The report found eight officers violated data practices laws, including former officer Kristin Hoefling, who is also accused of making racially biased and insensitive statements. According to the city, Hoefling has since been terminated from the department, and six of the other officers are no longer with the Golden Valley Police Department either.
The report details several incidents involving Hoefling, including that she secretly recorded multiple internal city meetings, created fake profiles on Facebook regarding the city's search for a new police chief, and made racial comments on virtual meetings and in emails.
It cites several examples, including an email to city staff from Hoefling regarding the murder of George Floyd, where she suggests educating the public on how to comply with police instructions.
Another incident occurred on a virtual meeting last spring when a presenter was speaking on the black wealth gap. Hoefling, who is muted, can be audibly heard saying to herself, "Because they don't work."
When the presenter addressed the median net worth of white families being higher than other racial groups, she again says to herself, "Because they work."
FOX 9 has reached out to Golden Valley's mayor, city manager and police chief for comment, but they declined to make any public statements until the next city council meeting on Tuesday.
We also asked Law Enforcement Labor Services, the union representing GVPD officers, for a statement, but have not heard back as of Thursday afternoon.
The city of Golden Valley will host listening and healing circles for community members at Brookview on Dec. 2 from 3:30 to 8 p.m.