Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson has asked Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott whether his city still requires aid from other law enforcement agencies, in the wake of a series of decisions by the city that he says have caused "significant confusion."
The letter, dated Wednesday, was obtained by WCCO-AM's Blois Olson, of Fluence Media (it can be read here), and sees Hutchinson ask the Brooklyn Center mayor to confirm his city "continues to request mutual aid from state and other law enforcement agencies."
It comes after a series of changes at the city level made in the wake of Daunte Wright's fatal shooting by BCPD officer Kim Potter. Since then the following changes have been made:
- The Brooklyn Center City Council voted to confer greater powers over the police department to Mayor Elliott.
- It fired City Manager Curt Boganey, and replaced him with deputy Reggie Edwards.
- It passed a vote preventing the Brooklyn Center Police Department from using crowd control munitions such as tear gas and rubber bullets.
- The council voted to recommend the firing of Police Chief Tim Gannon and Officer Kim Potter – both resigned on Tuesday.
Elliott has also spoken out against some of the tactics used in response to the protests, such as tear gas, saying "we have to approach policing in a different way, in a more humane way."
But despite this, Hutchinson's letter says, Elliott has continued to request "mutual aid" from other law enforcement agencies to assist with the protest response outside its precinct, and issued an emergency proclamation that notes the ban on tear gas and rubber bullets "does not apply to joint law enforcement operations occurring pursuant to a mutual aid agreement," or to the Minnesota State Patrol and National Guard.
The law enforcement response to the protests has been overseen by the multi-agency Operation Safety Net, which has also been responsible for security measures during the Derek Chauvin trial.
The Minnesota State Patrol has taken a significant role in the protest response, while Hutchinson said Brooklyn Center had asked the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office to take the lead in the operation.
"The city’s actions since Sunday evening have created significant confusion," Hutchinson writes. "In order to maintain peace and safety, it is critical that the City of Brooklyn Center communicate with its State, County, and local law enforcement partners regarding its ongoing need for mutual aid."
"In light of the recent changes in city leadership, I am writing to confirm my understanding that the City of Brooklyn Center continues to request mutual aid from state and other law enforcement agencies, including the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office," it says.
"Please let me know immediately, in writing, if that is not the case, and I will promptly inform Operation Safety Net and the Hennepin County Chiefs of Police Association that Brooklyn Center has withdrawn its request for mutual aid."