Updated: 12/20/2012 7:57 AM KSTP.com By: Jay Kolls
As many as six Minneapolis police officers in the Traffic Unit face accusations of misconduct at taxpayers' expense.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS obtained documents from the Traffic Unit that indicate the officers did little, or no work, primarily on holidays and it looks as though it went on for several years. We received traffic logs, which are filled out by traffic officers after every shift they work. The logs we received are empty indicating the officers didn't do much on the holidays they worked at time-and-a-half holiday pay. That's roughly $50 and hour for each officer. We looked at other traffic logs from similar time periods from other officers and they indicate a heavy load of traffic tickets and responses to accidents.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS also learned that the MPD Internal Affairs Unit was alerted to this alleged misconduct. But, an email we obtained from the head of the Internal Affairs Unit indicates he received orders to not investigate the misconduct. That same email indicates the directive to not investigate the allegations came from Deputy Chief, Scott Gerlicher. Minneapolis Police confirmed there was a complaint about the conduct of the officers in the the Traffic Unit, but a decision was made to "coach" the officers about their conduct. An MPD spokesman says he does not know what the coaching entailed, but none of the officers was disciplined.
We shared our information with Minneapolis City Council member, Gary Schiff. He tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that what we have uncovered is "troubling." Schiff says he intends to ask the Chief of Police to investigate what we have found and report back the City Council with her findings. Schiff says it is disheartening to see possible evidence that suggests city employees are being paid for work they might not have done and violated the public trust at the same time. Since we started inquiring about this five weeks ago, Deputy Chief Gerlicher has been demoted to Captain. We do not know if his demotion is connected to our inquiries.