Report: Outgoing Hennepin Co. Sheriff Dave Hutchinson engaged in workplace bullying, harassment

Outgoing Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson harassed and bullied staff members inside his department, according to a newly-released report.

The report was released following the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners’ vote to censure Hutchinson on Thursday.

The 10-page investigative report details findings, including that Hutchinson “engaged in a pattern of harassment and workplace bullying.” Hutchinson also “threatened retaliation against individuals looking into whether time was being properly recorded on timecards.”

Multiple examples of harassment and retaliatory behavior are cited in the investigation. The report interviewed 10 different staff members in the sheriff’s office, including sheriff-elect Dawanna Witt.

Among the report’s conclusions:

  • “The Sheriff has a pattern of communicating in a demeaning and bullying way to the staff in the Sheriff’s office.”
  • “The Sheriff has sent racist and sexist texts.”
  • “After his car accident, the Sheriff was seldom in the office and dramatically cut back on his communications with the Command Staff.”
  • “After his accident, the Sheriff frequently threatened to move employees in the Sheriff’s office out of their positions.”
  • “The Sheriff’s behavior after his accident led nine out of ten witnesses to express concern for the Sheriff’s mental health and stability.”
  • “The Sheriff has engaged in racist, sexist, harassing, bullying and retaliatory behavior in violation of Hennepin County’s Non-Discrimination and Respectful Workplace Policy.”

Sheriff Hutchinson has been on leave since last May and opted not to seek reelection. His last day as sheriff is January 2, 2023.