MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minneapolis Civil Service Commission has upheld the firing of two Minneapolis police officers for misconduct in Green Bay, Wisconsin, last year, Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau said Monday.
Harteau fired officers Brian Thole and Shawn Powell after the two white officers scuffled with a group of black men and then allegedly used racial slurs while berating local police investigating the June 2013 incident.
The firings kicked off an automatic appeals process. In a news release, Harteau said the commission upheld her decision last week and that she did not take the firings lightly.
"However, please be assured of my commitment to take every step possible to ensure the public trust necessary to be an effective police force and the community it serves," Harteau said in the statement. "This decision is indicative of the Minneapolis Police Department's focus on a culture of accountability."
At least one of the officers also disparaged Harteau, the first woman and first openly gay police chief in Minneapolis history, as a lesbian in the June 29, 2013, incident, which was partly recorded on video and described in a 40-page Green Bay Police Department report, the Star Tribune (http://strib.mn/1uAiiK0 ) reported.
The off-duty officers were not charged with any crime, but the Green Bay department reported the incident to Minneapolis, prompting the internal affairs review that led to their firing.
Thole and Powell denied the allegations. Both officers are union members and military veterans, and can challenge their dismissals through union procedures or under the state's Veterans Preference Act, the newspaper reported.
An attorney for the officers did not immediately return a phone call from The Associated Press on Monday, nor did Minneapolis Police Federation President John Delmonico.