Minneapolis mayor under attack for leaving town after Justine Damond shooting

She flew to a fundraiser in Los Angeles on July 19.
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Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges is defending herself against criticism that she should have stayed in Minneapolis following the Justine Damond shooting – instead of flying to California to attend a fundraiser.

It's an ironic parallel to the controversy that led to the ouster of the city's former police chief, who was also criticized for being out of town during the shooting's aftermath.

In a lengthy Facebook statement on Wednesday, Hodges confirmed the Los Angeles fundraising trip happened, but also slammed her "opponents" for raising the issue to begin with:

"What my opponents don’t understand about being mayor is that you have to be able to do many things at once, like lead a city and govern through a crisis while campaigning for reelection," she wrote. 

Hodges also defended her decision to take the trip, which was on July 19 – four days after a Minneapolis cop shot and killed Damond.

"During the 27 total hours that I was traveling, I spent most my time dealing with the aftermath of the terrible shooting," she explained, laying out in detail how she coordinated the city's response remotely. 

"In other words, I did exactly the same work I would have done had I stayed in Minneapolis."

She did acknowledge spending "a few hours at a campaign event," but also assailed her critics for ignoring the fundraising practices of her opponents:

"The notion that I should do nothing to promote my record as mayor while the men running against me, who do not have the responsibilities I do, should be free to raise unlimited amounts is ridiculous," she wrote.

Tough time for Hodges 

Just last week, Hodges was sued by the city's top tax official for failing to deliver the full 2018 budget by the Aug. 15 deadline (you can read more about that situation here).

The mayor dedicated a portion of her Wednesday Facebook post to discuss this controversy as well, explaining that she's had to deal with multiple crises lately (such as the Damond shooting, and the deadly Minnehaha Academy explosion).

All this comes in the middle of a fierce reelection battle, and within an hour of Hodges' post, one of her opponents had some words of his own:

"Just because you took a phone call in LA doesn't mean you wouldn't have been more effective at home, standing alongside shaken community members," City Councilman Jacob Frey wrote on Facebook

"It is in no uncertain terms unaccceptable [sic] for the Mayor to put herself and her campaign" ahead of her responsibilities as mayor, he added.

Here's Frey's full statement:

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