The city of Minneapolis has reached a nearly $63,000 settlement with a group of former police captains who sued Chief Janeé Harteau and claimed she pushed for their retirement and later reassigned them to inferior positions.

“While we have every confidence that the City would have prevailed at trial in this case, settlement in the total amount of $62,500 for the claims of all 5 plaintiffs (including any claims for attorney’s fees) will save time and resources and is in the best interests of the City and the Department,” City Attorney Susan Segal said in a statement Thursday.

After Harteau became chief in 2012, she made clear her intent to enforce the previously negotiated elimination of the captain rank and spoke publicly about her desire for older employees to retire.

The captain positions were replaced with five “commander” slots that gave her the ability to appoint whomever she wanted, according to the lawsuit filed in Hennepin County District Court last fall. Traditionally, captain jobs had gone through open selection and were subject to civil service regulation.

None of the former captains was selected as a commander, and all were slated for demotion to lieutenant if they did not retire.

The plaintiffs included Constance Leaf, Lawrence Doyle, Michael Martin, Sally Weddel and Isaac DeLugo. Only Doyle still works for the department.

 

NICOLE NORFLEET and DAVID CHANEN