The history between the Minneapolis mayor and the Lt. she rejected for a new position - Bring Me The News

The history between the Minneapolis mayor and the Lt. she rejected for a new position

Remember #pointergate? Mayor Hodges and Lt. Delmonico have crossed paths publicly before.
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Lt. John Delmonico and Mayor Betsy Hodges.

Lt. John Delmonico and Mayor Betsy Hodges.

Two big personnel changes were announced by the Minneapolis Police Department this week – with one blocked by the city's mayor, Betsy Hodges, hours later.

Behind the decision is a long, public history between Hodges and one of the lieutenants involved, which got the most attention following the #pointergate report.

There's a lot to unpack here, so let's go piece by piece. First, what happened Wednesday:

Minneapolis police announce promotions

The Minneapolis Police Department at 1:32 p.m. announced two big personnel moves, both appointments by Police Chief Janeé Harteau.

Mike Kjos was going to be promoted from 4th Precinct inspector (the third-highest rank within the PD), up to deputy chief – the second-highest rank.

Sliding into Kjos' role as inspector at the 4th Precinct was going to be Lt. John Delmonico. He had most recently been overseeing night shifts in the 2nd and 4th precincts, and from 1999-2015 had served as the president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis (the police union).

For some context, the 4th precinct is located in north Minneapolis, and was the site of those tense clashes between protesters and police following the shooting death of Jamar Clark.

Mayor's office intervenes

At 8:40 p.m. Wednesday, Mayor Hodges put out a statement that says she "celebrate[s]" the decision to move Kjos up to deputy chief.

But said Delmonico "will not be the inspector of the 4th Precinct."

Hodges said she learned of the move Wednesday, and while she appreciates Delmonico's "many years of service," and even thinks there "are many leadership roles for which he could be a good fit," the role of inspector for the 4th Precinct is not one of them.

"At this moment in the life of north Minneapolis, we need another kind of leadership for the next phase of the work that we are doing to build trust and transform relationships between police and community," Hodges said in the statement.

#Pointergate and the Hodges-Delmonico relationship

Hodges was on the Minneaoolis City Council from 2006 until 2014, when she became mayor. And her relationship with Delmonico has been strained at times.

It reached a nadir in the fall of 2014.

In October of that year, Hodges published an open letter to Minneapolis residents that said some police officers "abuse the trust that is afforded to them, and take advantage of their roles to do harm rather than prevent it." Delmonico responded in kind, and in an editorial accused Hodges of "spreading misconceptions" and unfairly labeling officers as being part of a problematic culture.

And then there was the biggest public spat: #pointergate. Here's video of the original KSTP report that started the whole thing, and the photo in question.

Delmonico was president of the police union during that time, and told KSTP "when you have the mayor of a major city with a known criminal, throwing up gang signs, that's terrible."

He added: "As critical as she can be with the cops, is she going to support gangs in the city or cops?"

She came back with a blog post directed squarely at Delmonico's comments, and accused him of trying to undermine the community-police relationship efforts she was trying to put into place.

And while those incidents caught the most press, the Star Tribune in a story from the time suggested their relationship was contentious long before Hodges was mayor, specifically because of her actions during pension negotiations with police while she was a council member.

Hodges and Harteau

Hodges nominated Harteau for a second term as police chief in the fall of 2015, and publicly the two have been supportive of each other.

But just last month, the U.S. Department of Justice put out its review of how the mayor's office and police department handled the response to the Jamar Clark protests. Within it, the department said a "breakdown" in communication between different offices hindered the city's response, and even noted an apparently "strained" relationship between Hodges and Harteau.

Hodges and Harteau appeared together afterward at a news conference, with the mayor apologizing and the two promising to work together to be better prepared going forward.

In Wednesday's statement from the mayor blocking Delmonico's appointment to inspector, Hodges said she didn't make the decision lightly, and called Harteau "a good steward of the department." Hodges also noted she's supported most of Harteau's personnel moves. But not this Delmonico decision.

“I look forward to working with Chief Harteau to find a new inspector for the 4th Precinct," Hodges said.

Harteau released a statement Thursday morning, saying she's "disappointed" by Hodges' decision, noting as police chief it's her job to pick the best candidate for such a job. And she wanted Delmonico for his "countless, long standing community partnerships and the leadership" he's shown.

If she "must make a new appointment," Harteau continued, she'll look for someone with the same strengths Delmonico has.

Kjos meanwhile is still slated to take over as deputy chief, with an estimated starting date of Aug. 20.

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