Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

Minneapolis mayor sued by police lieutenant whose promotion she blocked

Hodges says the suit is baseless and only about influencing the election.

With election night just weeks away, an old feud is coming back to haunt Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges. 

It's in the form of a lawsuit, filed Friday in Hennepin County by Minneapolis police Lt. John Delmonico. He says Hodges made defamatory and libelous statements about him – by calling him untrustworthy and racist.

The two have a long history, but Delmonico is specifically talking about the time Hodges blocked his promotion to head of the police department's 4th Precinct, publicly overruling the police chief's decision.

As the suit points out, local media outlets obtained texts between Hodges and then-chief Janeé Harteau, where the mayor explained her reasoning for blocking Delmonico's promotion at the time. 

And what's in that explanation is why Hodges is being sued. In the texts, Hodges said "we can't trust John," and that people "remember lots of racist stuff he has done."

The lawsuit accuses her of saying these things "intentionally or recklessly" and with "malice, hatred, and ill-will toward Delmonico and with a desire to injure him."

And because the texts went public, the police lieutenant suffered "damage to his career, shame, embarrassment, mortification, and mental anguish," the suit says.

Delmonico is seeking damages "in excess of $50,000."

This is the second suit filed against her in the last two months, that one over her budget release timeline. However, the judge sided with Hodges and it got tossed out.

Hodges' response to Delmonico's lawsuit

The mayor took to Twitter Friday afternoon, calling this a "patently baseless lawsuit that is obviously intended to influence the election."

She also defended her move to cancel Delmonico's promotion, painting it as an example of the "tough decisions" she has to make as mayor.

Background

As you have probably already gathered, this is a really complex story. 

Hodges and Delmonico have a rivalry stretching all the way back to when Hodges was still on the City Council.

The lawsuit notes that the two sparred even then, over pension benefits for cops (Delmonico was head of the police union at the time).

And, later, during the infamous #Pointergate controversy, Delmonico was one of the mayor's most vocal critics – something the suit also mentions.

It's also worth nothing that Delmonico's blocked promotion was the beginning of a public rift between the mayor and Chief Harteau, with the latter eventually resigning at Hodges' request. 

To sum up, the mayor has had a fraught relationship with her police force. Whether this does indeed "influence the election" will be decided on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Next Up

water drain

MN will get $116M for water projects as part of infrastructure package

Nationwide, $7.4 billion will be distributed for projects next year.

covid

3rd teenage death from COVID-19 reported in Minnesota

All three of the teenage deaths have occurred in the past three months.

crowne plaza hotel minneapolis mn

Former downtown Minneapolis Crowne Plaza to become boutique hotel

The hotel closed at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and never reopened.

covid-19, coronavirus

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, December 3

The latest from the health department. The next update comes Monday.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Man who threatened suicide by cop detained, hospitalized

Officers responded to the incident at around 1:40 a.m. Friday.

northbound remodel facebook

Northbound brewpub reopens with new look, revamped menu

It had been closed since October for the big remodel.

Snow, Hanley Falls

Latest storm track, snow forecast for weekend winter storm

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch.

gianni's wayzata heated patio

These Twin Cities restaurants have heated patios for outdoor winter dining

From bonfires to igloos, Twin Cities restaurants have you covered as temperatures drop.

Kirill Kaprizov

Kirill Kaprizov's slow start is a thing of the past

A potential sophomore slump has been erased with a three-point night against the Devils..

Related

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.

Report: A bunch of campaign staffers have quit on Mayor Betsy Hodges

The news comes just a few weeks before Election Day.

Ex-Minneapolis police chief might be able to speak her mind about Mayor Hodges

It sounds like both women are willing to lose the non-disparagement clause.

Minneapolis mayor issues warning to Trump on illegal immigrants

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges has a problem with Donald Trump's plan to withdraw federal funding to "Sanctuary Cities."

Minneapolis won't hire Sally Yates after all

She was to investigate the MPD's ketamine scandal

Mayor: Minneapolis is working through some tough stuff to get stronger

Betsy Hodges says there's 'discomfort' in the city, but it's ultimately a good thing.