UPDATE: Chief Harteau responded to suit on the department's Facebook page:
“As the Chief of the Minneapolis Police Department my number one priority is serving the residents of Minneapolis and the members of my department. Since day one, I have been focused on implementing and building MPD 2.0 to become a recognized and respected Law Enforcement leader in public safety strategies and service to our community. My decisions are based on what I believe will further benefit the department in achieving our goals of improving public safety, building public trust and increasing employee engagement and morale. As Police Chief I have made a number of organizational changes and will continue to make adjustments based on what is needed at that time in a particular area. I fully understand that not everyone will agree with the decisions I make, however, all of my decisions are grounded in our core values of commitment, integrity and transparency.”
ORIGINAL POST: Former Minneapolis police deputy chief Eddie Frizell has sued Chief Janeé Harteau alleging that he was stripped of his command for running for Hennepin County sheriff.
In a suit filed in the U.S. District Court in Minneapolis Wednesday, Frizell sued Harteau and the city for “loss of reputation, humiliation, embarrassment, inconvenience (and) mental and emotional anguish,” according to the complaint. Frizell says he has been demoted to lieutenant, his last civil service rank, and reassigned to the Domestic Assault Unit.
The suit seeks monetary damages and the reinstatement of Frizell’s command.
Frizell claims he was demoted without explanation on his first day back from a six-month leave of absence to challenge incumbent Sheriff Rich Stanek.
In his absence, command of the patrol division was returned to the control of the assistant chief, an arrangement that provided “more synergy and continuity,” said Harteau, who has made no secret of her intention to revamp the department’s management.
A police spokesman did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Wednesday.
Frizell was initially offered the rank of commander of operations and administration, which would have put him in charge of recruitment and hiring, but Harteau pulled the offer after he was quoted in the Star Tribune as saying that he was “dismayed” with the move, the suit alleges.
The suit says:
"On November 20, 2014, Chief Harteau met with Frizell and Deputy Chief of Professional Standards, Travis Glampe. Chief Harteau had a copy of the Star Tribune article on her desk, with Frizell's comments highlighted. She then proceeded to discuss the article at length with Frizell; she dissected the words he used, questioned how the reporter obtained his phone number, discussed his relationship with the reporeer, and disputed whether Frizell had been given an explanation for his demotion."
As a military veteran, he should have first been granted a "pre-termination hearing," the suit argues.
The complaint reads:
"As a result of his demotion to Lieutenant, Frizell's salary was reduced from $123,037.00 to $106,500.16, along with his rank and duties. He now supervises four officers, has a tiny office, and is now required to report to a formerly subordinate officer."
Here is the complaint in full: