Off-Duty Officers Accused of Drunken Brawling and Racial Slurs

By: Tim Dolan, Former Chief of Police, Minneapolis, MN  (ret).

Minneapolis Police are under media attack due to two brawls in the last year in which off-duty officers allegedly used racial slurs. (1, 2)   As a former chief of the department, I told officers that there will be days when we would be less proud of putting on the uniform of the Minneapolis Police Department. The recent incidents reported should embarrass and concern anyone who has worn a uniform and their families. These difficult times are reminders that the people behind those badges are human beings. They are not perfect; they never will be perfect.

Recent studies show that about fifty percent of us believe that racism is alive and well in America. They show that over one in ten of us are alcoholics, and that over forty percent of us get obnoxiously drunk at least once a year. 

The Minneapolis Police Department has about a thousand employees – ninety percent of whom are sworn officers. It is one the highest educated and the most diverse police department in the Midwest, and they are one of the most progressive departments in the nation. I know that they will deal with those who do not meet their high standards, and I wish them well during these difficult times.

(1) Minneapolis Police Were Hostile to Green Bay Police, Used Racial Slur, by Matt McKinney, Minneapolis Star, 2013 and Tribune, July 30. 

(2) Minneapolis Cops Accused of Using Racial Slurs in Apple Valley Bar Fight, by Marino Eccher and Elizabeth Mohr, Pioneer Press, August 2, 2013.