Two Minneapolis police officers accused of using racial and sexual slurs

The Minneapolis officers were placed on leave, sources said.

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Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau, in front.

Photo: Richard Tsong-Taatarii, Star Tribune

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Two Minneapolis police officers placed on leave are being investigated for allegations that they used racial and sexual slurs when talking to a Green Bay, Wis., police officer following an altercation there, sources told the Star Tribune Friday.

While the department declined to name the officers or describe the incident, the sources said that officers Brian Thole and Shawn Powell got into an argument last month with two black men in Green Bay, where Powell used to be a police officer. The officers were off-duty at the time.

Police were called but the dispute ended without further incident and no one was arrested, the sources said. Thole and Powell then contacted a higher-up within the Green Bay Police Department and used a racial slur when describing the men, as well as a sexual slur about Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau, who is the city’s first gay police chief.

The Green Bay Police Department sent an incident report to the Minneapolis Police Department about what happened, according to the sources. That report made its way to Internal Affairs and to Harteau, who placed the officers, who are white, on paid leave. They have been removed from the SWAT team, the sources said.

In a brief statement Friday, police said only that Harteau had reviewed details of a case and then initiated an investigation, which remains open. State law prohibits the department from saying anything further, according to the statement. The officers could not be reached for comment.

Cmdr. Medaria Arradondo, head of the department’s Internal Affairs unit, confirmed Friday that he had opened the investigation.

The allegations come on the heels of two other incidents involving Minneapolis police officers.

Earlier this month, former officer David Clifford was sentenced to 43 months in prison for punching and nearly killing a bar patron while off duty.

Last month, former officer Bradley Schnickel admitted sending nude photos of himself to two teenage girls. He faces more charges of using social media to lure underage girls into sexual encounters; he allegedly had sex with two of them, according to authorities.

Harteau fired Clifford and Schnickel.

 

David Chanen • 612-673-4465

Matt McKinney • 612-217-1747

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