Minneapolis Police tried to hire another former officer with a controversial past. Even he was surprised

Minneapolis Police tried to hire another former officer with a controversial past. Even he was surprised

Minneapolis Police tried to hire another former officer with a controversial past. Even he was surprised

In January, Charles Storlie found a job posting that piqued his interest. It was for a civilian case investigator in the Minneapolis Police Department.

He believed the temporary position was a good fit for his skills, since he had previously worked for MPD as a sworn officer.

But Storlie also worried that his history with the department could be a barrier. He applied anyway, with one caveat. 

“I said, before we get into the process, I just want you to know who I am,” Storlie said in a recent interview. “In the age of Google, who can hide who they are?”

According to emails provided to 5 INVESTIGATES, Storlie disclosed to MPD background investigators multiple high-profile incidents he was involved with during his time at MPD, including an officer-involved shooting that resulted in the largest monetary settlement in Minneapolis’ history at the time.

But despite those admissions, and his application being sent up the chain of command, the city offered Storlie the job.

Even he was surprised. 

“As more and more information was gathered about me, I thought that’s the last stage I was going to be at,” he said. “But it was exactly the opposite. The more information they collected, the further they pushed it forward.”

Storlie’s experience raises more questions about a process that’s already under scrutiny, after the controversial hiring of now-former officer Tyler Timberlake.

MPD hired Timberlake in January. The former Fairfax County, Virginia police officer was charged and later acquitted of assault for an on-duty incident in 2020. Timberlake is seen on body camera video tasing an unarmed Black man and then kneeling on his back. 

His hiring, first reported in April by the Minnesota Reformer, sparked outrage among community members. Police Chief Brian O’Hara later admitted he signed off on Timberlake’s hire, but said he did not see the video of the assault.

“I would not have signed off on that hire if I had witnessed the behavior on that video at that time,” O’Hara told reporters last week during a news conference. 

“It’s very obvious to me that there is a problem here with this process if someone can go through layers of review and something like that not being flagged,” he added. 

O’Hara said all hires go through a full investigation that’s reviewed up the chain of command.

Storlie provided emails that appear to show his own investigation went all the way to the Minneapolis Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards.

“We’re not talking about one layer here,” he said in an interview. “We’re talking about, you know, three or four different levels of steps where this could have been stopped or could have been diverted.”

On Monday, 5 INVESTIGATES asked for an interview with Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O’Hara. The department has yet to respond.

Google Me

After his initial interview with city HR staff and MPD personnel, Storlie said he warned a background investigator of his history, writing in an email that a Google search of his name would result in “a number of hits.”

Included in that search was a 1997 incident, where Storlie shot a Black teenager in the back. He claimed the boy aimed a handgun at his partner. The weapon turned out to be a BB gun.

But the most high-profile story was from 2003 when Storlie shot and critically wounded fellow MPD officer Duy Ngo. Ngo, who was undercover, radioed for help after being shot by a suspect. Storlie arrived at the scene and shot Ngo with a submachine gun.

The shooting set off turmoil within the department, resulting in multiple internal affairs investigations and a civil lawsuit that the city settled for $4.5 million. At the time, it was the largest police settlement in the department’s history.

“I’m not trying to sabotage my application,” Storlie wrote in an email to the background investigator. “However, you will have a lot of work. I want to make sure these items are addressed before we begin.”

A day after sending that email, Storlie said he got another email that stated Deputy Chief Troy Schoenberger was reviewing his application.

“I thought for sure after that, they wouldn’t hire me,” Storlie said. 

Instead, emails Storlie provided showed his application advanced to a more extensive background check. A month later, he got an offer letter. 

He said he ultimately turned the job down after a conversation with his ex-wife.

“She goes, ‘someone’s going to find out who you are.’”

Storlie said he decided to come forward after learning Officer Timberlake had also disclosed his past before being hired. 

“You can make a discussion if… he should have been hired in the first place,” Storlie said. “That’s perfectly valid. My point is that he was hired, he went through the hiring process and then he got snagged.”