Metro Transit officers placed on leave

FOX 9 has learned two top-ranking officials with the Metro Transit Police Department are on administrative leave pending an investigation into their involvement with a volunteer community program.

Capt. Brooke Blakey, who serves as Chief of Staff for the department, is one of the officials on administrative leave.  She is the daughter of the late Art Blakey, the longtime Minnesota State Fair police chief, who died in 2018. Blakey declined to comment on her suspension.

In a statement to FOX 9, a spokesperson for Metro Transit Police said, "Metro Transit and the Metro Transit Police Department have received a complaint and are in the process of working with a third party to investigate that complaint."

The spokesperson said state privacy laws prevent the department from offering details of the complaint and issues involved. Representatives of the union serving Metro Transit Police, Law Enforcement Labor Services, did not return calls seeking comment.

Sources tell FOX 9 the allegations concern how the officers interacted with a community nonprofit called Seeds to Harvest.  The volunteer group is a coalition of 47 North Minneapolis nonprofits and residents who carry out community service projects.

According to the group’s website, Seeds to Harvest began as a response to the pandemic and the murder of George Floyd. Volunteers with the group, including Blakey, have been actively involved in coaching and mentoring kids at North Commons Recreation Center in North Minneapolis.

Earlier this month the group’s volunteers helped kids attempting to break the Guinness World Records for catch (football) and the world’s largest game of jumping high fives.

According to Metro Transit’s Facebook page, last December members of the Metro Transit Police Department teamed up with Seeds to Harvest to distribute meals and flowers "to two-dozen families that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and other recent challenges."

Blakey joined Metro Transit Police as a full-time police officer in June 2014 and quickly rose through the ranks, becoming a sergeant in 2018 and a captain in March of 2021. Most recently she served as ‘chief of staff’ for Metro Transit Police Chief Eddie Frizell.  She is second highest ranking member of the department.

According to Blakey’s Metro Transit Police profile, she "is a leading expert in community/police relations, particularly with unsheltered populations.  She was instrumental in the creation of MTPD’s Homeless Action Team (HAT)."

Frizell did not reply to an email seeking comment.