Social media video captures law enforcement divide with Hennepin Co. Attorney

A since-deleted video, posted online by the Bloomington Police Chief is raising questions about law enforcement’s ability to work with Hennepin County’s top prosecutor.

"I fully expect to get in trouble for this, it is what it is," said Chief Booker Hodges in the five-minute video.

In the video that was quickly removed last month, Hodges challenged the leadership of Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty. FOX 9 obtained a copy of the video after filing a public data request with the city of Bloomington.

"Mary Moriarty, we got a lot of relationship rebuilding to do," Hodges said while in full uniform, staring into the camera, with an official city of Bloomington and police department backdrop behind him.

The five-minute video was first posted on the police department’s public YouTube page with Hodges outlining his frustrations with Moriarty.

"I will not allow someone in such a position to disparage this profession," said Hodges.

Hodges posted the video on June 20, less than three weeks after Moriarty publicly questioned the training of police officers during a news conference announcing the dropping of murder charges against state trooper Ryan Londregan.

"I think this is a fundamental problem with all of law enforcement, that they are trained to control. They are trained for compliance," Moriarty said at the time.

That day, Moriarty explained why she dismissed the high-profile case involving a deadly use-of-force incident during a freeway traffic stop. Moriarty also said attorneys in her office worried about prosecuting those wearing the badge.

"People fear retaliation from the police," explained Moriarty. "And by that, I mean slow-walking cases. I don't mean physical harm. What I mean is they do not work up the cases. That has happened in this office."

Hodges responded in the video, "Comments like that, police are going to slow walk cases, we are not. Why would we do that? It makes no sense. Comments like that make the public less safe."

While Hodges acknowledged he was likely to get into trouble for his commentary, the video was still posted on the internet.

Within hours though, viewers clicking on the link were informed the video was "removed by the uploader."

"It is still a government record. And you cannot totally take back once you have created a video like that," said Rachel Moran, a University of Saint Thomas associate law professor, who focuses her academic work on police accountability issues and public access to law enforcement records.

"It is OK to criticize people and especially to criticize public officials, whether that is a county attorney or a police chief. In fact, we do need to be able to say when things are not going well," Moran said.

Moriarty has also criticized law enforcement for pushing back against reforms that would limit association with white supremacy groups.

Hodges addressed those allegations as well but said he took the video down because his statement was not 100% accurate. He added "I encourage the elected county attorney to work on repairing her relationship with people who work in law enforcement."

The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office said in its own statement to FOX 9, they appreciate that the video has been taken down and have no further comment.

"One of the things Mary Moriarty has expressed in her time as county attorney is she thinks the police are being too defensive when she critiques them or advocates for more accountability," Moran said. "And this video does play into that a little bit by being quite defensive.

So, it is a back and forth that doesn't seem all that productive."