After Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman released a bare-bones statement last week saying he was taking a leave from his “high stress” job to focus on his health, the Star Tribune Editorial Board urged him to offer more information.
“The indefinite nature of the leave is especially troubling, and Freeman should provide some clarity,” the board wrote, while also noting a Star Tribune news story about Freeman’s troubling behavior at a recent public event.
On Friday, Freeman released an update saying he would be seeking treatment for alcohol abuse beginning this week and expected to return to work in mid-June. He also reported being treated for high blood pressure.
Freeman deserves credit for sharing that information. It takes courage not only to face a challenge such as alcohol abuse but also to reveal that struggle to the public.
As our May 18 editorial stated, Freeman is one of this state’s most powerful prosecutors. He and his staff of 200 attorneys make life-altering decisions every day, and he is ultimately accountable to those who elected him. He has served as county attorney for 20 years and won the Editorial Board’s endorsement in his successful bid for a sixth term in the face of a formidable challenge last fall.
Freeman’s been a strong and innovative leader and is well-respected in law enforcement circles in Minnesota and nationwide.
Like so many Minnesotans, especially those in the recovery community, we wish the county attorney the best in his treatment and hope to see him back on the job as soon as he and his doctors think he’s ready.
Opinion editor’s note: This editorial is excerpted from Thursday’s edition of the daily Star Tribune Opinion e-mail newsletter. To sign up for the newsletter, which highlights the best of editorial and commentary and notes from editorial page editor Scott Gillespie, go to bit.ly/OpinionNewsletter.