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Change of leadership at 4th Precinct after 'racist' Christmas tree incident

A new interim inspector has been appointed to run the precinct.

A new leader of the Minneapolis police 4th Precinct has been appointed following the controversy over Christmas tree decorations that Mayor Jacob Frey denounced as "racist."

Two officers were "relieved of their duties" after a picture of the tree, which had Takis, a Popeye's chicken cup, and Newport cigarettes, among other items, hung from the branches, was shared on social media last week.

On Monday, Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo announced that 4th Precinct Inspector Aaron Biard will no longer be in charge of the station.

Taking his place on an interim basis will be Minneapolis Assistant Police Chief Mike Kjos, who will run the precinct until a replacement can be found.

"After very thoughtful review and consideration I have made the decision that effective immediately Assistant Chief Kjos will be responsible for the day to day operations of the 4 Precinct," Arradondo said. "Assistant Chief Kjos will help serve in this capacity until a decision is made on the next Inspector of the 4 Precinct."

Biard initially told Minneapolis City Council member Phillipe Cunningham that the ornaments had been placed on the tree by an unnamed officer as a "prank."

Mayor Jacob Frey, who vowed on Friday that the officer responsible would be fired, issued the following statement in response to Arradondo's move: "I support Chief Arradondo’s decision, and it reflects his resolve to make meaningful change."

It's not clear what will happen to Biard, who took over as the 4th Precinct inspector in summer 2017.

Bring Me The News will update this story as more information becomes available.

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