Posted at: 07/31/2013 8:55 PM
Updated at: 08/01/2013 12:06 AM
By: Mark Albert
Internal emails obtained by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reveal at least part of the answer to one of the biggest questions from the scandal surrounding the racial and sexual slurs allegedly used by two Minneapolis police officers outside a Green Bay, Wis., bar that were captured on tape: exactly why did Green Bay officers decide to report their fellow officers to Minneapolis police?
The answer: because if the roles were reversed, "we would want to know," a top Green Bay police commander wrote to his counterpart in Minneapolis.
The emails, provided by the Minneapolis Police Department after a 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS public records request, were written in the weeks after the June 29 incident that involved two MPD officers, who are identified by sources as Shawn Powell and Brian Thole.
The two were placed on paid administrative leave late last week pending a MPD investigation. KSTP-TV has not been able to reach either officer for comment.
In an email dated July 21, 2013 - a Sunday - Green Bay PD Internal Affairs Commander Lt. Kevin Warych wrote to Minneapolis PD Internal Affairs Commander Medaria Arradondo.
"Good Morning Commander," the email begins. "Attached is the case report for your review."
Warych then makes arrangements to deliver the dash camera videos that captured much of the incident involving Powell and Thole.
As the email continues, it reveals the motive for the Green Bay Police Dept.'s decision to alert the Minneapolis Police Dept.
"Also, whatever you need from our department, I will help you get it," Warych wrote. "This is a sad situation for everyone involved. But as we talked, we would want to know how our officers acted if they were in a different city."
During their three contacts with Green Bay police that night and into the next morning, Powell and Thole not only used the "N-word" to describe several black men they got into an altercation with and used an expletive when referring to the sexual orientation of openly gay Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau, but also disparaged the Green Bay officers who responded, according to the 40-page case report.
"You guys are a f***ing joke," one of the two off-duty MPD cops said, referring to Green Bay police, according to the video and the officers' report.
"Wow, dude. What a clown show," either Powell or Thole can be heard saying at another point.
The two were not arrested at the scene, but were apparently upset their names and occupations would be included in the Green Bay case report and that the men they encountered were not arrested.
So around 3 a.m. the pair went to the Green Bay police station to complain about the response to the incident, according to the account of the GBPD officers present.
A video of the lobby encounter shows Powell saluting the surveillance camera as he walks in before getting into heated discussions with Green Bay officers.
"Green Bay did the right thing" by reporting the incident, said prominent Twin Cities attorney Bob Bennett, who is well-known for suing police for misconduct cases, in an interview Wednesday.
Bennett was one of the attorneys who sued Ofc. Powell in 2010 after Powell and other officers were caught on tape kicking and beating Derryl Jenkins.
The case led to a $235,000 settlement and use-of-force changes throughout the department. Powell was never disciplined for that incident, according to his personnel file and reported by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS on Monday.
"(Minneapolis) would have a better police force and better relations with the community that they serve if they properly disciplined the police officers each and every time it was required," said Bennett.