Skip to main content

A Minnesota sheriff said he's done defending the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), publicly bashing the agency for how officers handled protesters during the unrest following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020. 

Wright County Sheriff Sean Deringer called out the MPD during a Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Ensuring Police Excellence and Improving Community Relations Advisory Council meeting Wednesday morning. 

Deringer, who is a district director for the Minnesota Sheriffs Association and is on the advisory council, was highly critical of MPD when he was asked about statewide disciplinary standards during the council's conversation about broadening the POST Board's powers to discipline officers for misconduct. 

He said he has defended the MPD for the past 23 months, including when people would suggest officers were shooting non-lethal rounds at people who weren't doing anything wrong. 

"I'm like, 'Holy crap, that doesn't happen. Cops do not do that,'" Deringer said. "Well, no s***, three weeks ago every news station across Minnesota releases the bodycam footage of Minneapolis Police Department, again, making headlines because, why? That's exactly what they were doing. 

"I'm telling you folks, I was absolutely disgusted watching that. I've defended that agency for the very last time," he said. 

Related [Oct. 6]: Body camera video shows officers talking about 'hunting' protesters during George Floyd unrest

Deringer was referencing the body camera footage that was released as part of the Jaleel Stallings case. Bodycam footage showed MPD officers riding in an unmarked van and firing, without warning, rubber bullets at people protesting following Floyd's murder. This prompted Stallings to shoot back, thinking they were white supremacists. Two of the officers then beat Stallings. 

Related [Sept. 27]: New surveillance video, SWAT body cam footage shows police beating prone Jaleel Stallings

Officers claimed Stallings fired first and he was charged with attempted murder, but a jury acquitted him after evidence presented at the trial directly contradicted officers' accounts of what happened. 

"I'm telling you, from the top down, that agency needs an overhaul," Deringer said. "We are absolutely disgusted."

Deringer said the Minnesota Sheriffs Association is "ready to write a letter saying 'We absolutely denounce whatever is going on with the Minneapolis Police Department.'"

Related [Sept. 2]: Actions of Minneapolis police officers revealed during court case spark outrage

"I'm appalled at the lack of leadership in that agency," Deringer said, adding: "I am so upset with the lack of leadership, and those other agencies throughout the state that truly do an unbelievable job serving our communities yet we are all cast in the same barrel of crap coming out of Minneapolis proper."

The actions of the officers in the Stallings case were defended by MPD Chief Medaria Arradondo, who said the should be seen in the context of the riots that had preceded it.

MPD is currently the subject of a federal investigation into its use of force, as well as whether it engages in discriminatory policing. An effort to replace MPD with a new Department of Public Safety that supporters say would have brought greater accountability to city policing failed in a Nov

Deringer did acknowledge it's not that there aren't issues in greater Minnesota, noting he has two deputies currently on administrative leave. 

Deringer and Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken, also a member of the advisory council, both said discipline of officers is inconsistent across the state of Minnesota. 

“I do think that that lack of consistency at times, is what our communities look at and say ‘Well wait a minute, what’s going on here?’ We all get painted with a broad brush and it’s not just Minnesota," Tusken said. 

The hour-long advisory council meeting was dedicated to initial conversations about a proposal that would give the POST Board the power to take disciplinary action against police officers for a broader range of misconduct, such as excessive force and criminal conduct, even if the officer is not charged or convicted of a crime. 

Currently, the POST Board has the authority to revoke an officer's license if they lie or cheat on a board test, lie to the board, commit sexual assault or harassment, use deadly force when not authorized, or are convicted of prostitution. 

Supporters say this proposal is necessary to remove problem officers from the job without relying on the judicial system. It would also bring police licensing in line with other state licensing boards that can revoke licenses without criminal convictions. 

Deringer questioned if this is necessary, saying he doesn't wait for a criminal conviction to remove an officer if they violate policy. 

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Meanwhile, opponents of the proposal say it goes too far. Rep. Paul Novotny, R-Elk River, is on the advisory council and is a former sheriff's deputy. He spoke out against the proposal in a news release on Tuesday, saying it would fundamentally change the discipline process. 

Novotny called it a "dramatic overreach by the POST Board," saying it would give the board the power to end an officer's career for using force even if the officer hasn't been charged or convicted of a crime. 

As of today, no MPD officers have been charged and only one officer has been disciplined for their conduct during the 2020 riots, now-former MPD Officer Colleen Ryan, who was disciplined for speaking to the media.

Novotny asked the POST Board to reject or delay the proposal until the consequences of it can be fully vetted. 

You can watch the advisory council's meeting here

Next Up

Mats Zuccarello

Zuccarello helps Wild spoil Lundqvist's retirement party

After Henrik Lundqvist's jersey was hung to the rafters, Zuccarello led a 3-2 win.

Screen Shot 2022-01-28 at 5.04.00 PM

David Arquette gives shoutout to MN's F1rst Wrestling on James Corden show

The Hollywood actor wrestled at at a F1rst Wrestling show at First Avenue in early 2019.

Best Buy - jjbers, Flickr

6 charged in Black Friday mass thefts at Twin Cities Best Buys

The group stole from three Best Buy stores that afternoon, the charges say.

Nicollet County Bell Jan 2022 4

Thieves steal large bell from rural MN church, don't get far with it

The bell was found in a ditch with tow ropes around it.


COVID: More help coming to Minnesota hospitals, Walz says

More than 200 medical professionals are coming to help at short-staffed hospitals.

Screen Shot 2022-01-28 at 9.04.12 AM

Suspect arrested after falling asleep in vehicle at rest stop

The man was sleeping in a stolen vehicle in the parking lot of an I-94 rest area.

DOminos pizza flickr mr blue maumau

Charges: Edina man threatened to shoot up Domino's Pizza

He claimed a delivery driver had flipped him off, the charges say.

carvana vending machine

Carvana seeking to build vehicle vending machine in Twin Cities

The online car dealership submitted a letter of intent to buy land in the metro to build a fulfillment center.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

Coller: New Vikings GM Adofo-Mensah needs to be ruthless

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah needs to make some big, difficult decisions, writes Matthew Coller.

Patrick Graham

Report: Vikings to interview Giants' Patrick Graham for head coach

Graham coached with the Patriots under Bill Belichick for six years.

floor and decor screengrab

Home brand plans 'flagship' store in Maple Grove AMC Theater space

This will be the company's first Minnesota location.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, January 28

The state is still in the process of catching up with 10,000 yet-to-be processed tests.


Flickr - Minneapolis police squad - Chad Davis

Actions of Minneapolis police officers revealed during court case spark outrage

It follows the acquittal of Jaleel Stallings for shooting at what turned out to be SWAT officers during the George Floyd unrest.

Screen Shot 2021-12-13 at 3.12.47 PM

Sheriff: Driver killed self on I-94 after police chase

The incident apparently began with a shooting near St. Cloud Monday afternoon.

Harry Welter resize

Former mayor was lying on driveway when deputy ran him over, officials say

The deputy was responding to a medical call and didn't see him, the sheriff's office said.

Minneapolis police

MPD prioritizing recruits who live in Minneapolis, have social service experience

The city and Minneapolis Police Department announced new recruiting measures for the understaffed department.

Minneapolis police

Survey: Non-white residents feel MPD officers not held accountable for misconduct

Recent news investigations have found complaints against officers don't often lead to discipline.

Minneapolis police

Minneapolis City Council approves additional funding for MPD

The approval comes days after a tense exchange between the police chief and council members.

38th and Chicago George Floyd Memorial

Crowds gather for festival, day of action at George Floyd Square

The People's Power Love Fest kicked off with door knocking to gain additional support for an effort to change the police department.