5 Hennepin Co. commissioners call for Sheriff Hutchinson’s resignation, 1 says his future is up to voters

Five out of the seven Hennepin County commissioners are calling for Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson to resign, and a sixth says it’s up to the voters to decide his future.

Commissioner Chris LaTondresse released a statement Thursday afternoon saying Hutchinson’s decision to drink and drive "violated the laws he took an oath to upload and enforce."

"At this point, I believe it is in the public interest for Sheriff Hutchinson to resign," he added.

A short time later, Commissioner Marion Greene, the chair and District 3 representative, gave the following statement to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS:

"As details have emerged regarding the car crash involving Sheriff Hutchinson and a county vehicle, and his resulting DWI, Sheriff Hutchinson’s actions and subsequent comments have eroded public confidence in the Sheriff, and his ability to serve and equitably enforce laws. For these reasons I believe Sheriff Hutchinson should resign."

Thursday at about 7 p.m., District 4 Commissioner Angela Conley joined the calls for resignation, saying she has been "unable to get in contact" with Hutchinson since learning of his "horrendous accident while under the influence."

Greene, LaTondresse and Conley’s comments come a day after two other commissioners, Irene Fernando and Jeffrey Joneal Lunde, called for the sheriff to resign.

"It’s prohibiting law enforcement agencies from around the county from rebuilding trust," Lunde said. "I like Hutch, he’s done some really great stuff, I’ve talked to him a lot, it’s not some moment like this is one of my goals, this is a somber place I’m in, it’s what people elect us to do which is lead, we need to move past this."

At 8:18 p.m. Thursday, District 7 Commissioner Kevin Anderson wrote that he hoped Hutchinson would make decisions "in the best interest of the people of Hennepin County" and those he leads, saying that voters will make the ultimate decision on Hutchinson’s future.

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A search warrant application states Hutchinson told both witnesses and deputies at the scene that he wasn’t the driver of the county-owned vehicle after it crashed near Alexandria on the morning of Dec. 8. Later in the day, Hutchinson released a statement saying he drove the vehicle after he’d been drinking and apologized for his actions.

After being charged with four misdemeanors related to drunken driving, Hutchinson pleaded guilty and was sentenced to probation on Dec. 20.

Hutchinson hasn’t backed down and released a statement Wednesday night saying, "I am fully committed to continuing to serve the people of Hennepin County who elected me. I will let the citizens, not politicians, decide my future in November."

The sheriff declined an interview with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS on Thursday.

County commissioners oversee the sheriff’s budget but can’t remove him from office because he was elected by voters.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has reached out to Debbie Goettel, District 5, for comment, but has yet to hear back.