Mpls. police union won't contest firing of 2 cops in Green Bay incident

  • Article by: MATT MCKINNEY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 12, 2013 - 8:11 PM

But the former Minneapolis officers can appeal their termination over an incident when they were off-duty in Green Bay, Wis.

The Minneapolis police union will not contest the firing of officers Brian Thole and Shawn Powell, who were terminated last week for a June 29 incident in Green Bay, Wis., in which the officers used racist language while berating local police officers.

At least one of the officers also disparaged Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau with an anti-gay slur, according to video of the incident and a lengthy Green Bay police report.

The incident began when the two white officers, who were off-duty, got into a fight with a group of black men.

No charges were filed against them, but the Green Bay Police Department sent a report of the incident to the Minneapolis police administration.

The union’s decision, announced Thursday, means the officers must pay for their own legal representation if they choose to fight the firing.

Thole and Powell, both military veterans who served on the Minneapolis SWAT team, may appeal their Dec. 3 firing through Minneapolis civil service rules or under the state’s Veterans Preference Act, but not both.

The officers were on paid leave until they were fired.

The Veterans Act gives them 60 days to make a decision about their appeal and provides for them to keep getting their salary during that process.

Under the act, their case would be heard by a city panel and then the district court if they chose to appeal the panel’s decision. The process could take a year, and the appealing officer would be paid until a decision is reached.

Matt McKinney • 612-217-1747

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