Minnesota sheriff: ‘I will no longer defend Minneapolis Police’

A Minnesota sheriff is publicly criticizing the Minneapolis Police Department for how its officers responded to protesters during the unrest following the murder of George Floyd.

Wright County Sheriff Sean Deringer called out what he says is a lack of leadership at MPD in a passionate speech Wednesday morning during a public meeting for the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training.

Deringer said the final straw came a few weeks ago when he watched the videos released as part of the Jaleel Stallings criminal case that showed how police responded to the unrest, including officers who were seen celebrating and laughing after hitting someone with a rubber bullet.

“I am telling you folks that I was absolutely disgusted watching that. And I’ve defended that agency for the very last time,” Sheriff Deringer said during a virtual advisory council meeting for the POST Board.

The citizen-led council was evaluating officer conduct and working on priorities for reform when the sheriff voiced his frustration over how the controversies at MPD are impacting the rest of his profession.

“I am so upset with the lack of leadership and those other agencies throughout the state that truly do an unbelievable job serving our communities. Yet we are all cast in the same barrel of crap coming out of Minneapolis proper,” he said.

The videos that angered Sheriff Deringer started to trickle out this past summer during the criminal case against Jaleel Stallings, who was accused of trying to kill police officers.

The Army veteran, who has a permit to carry, said he fired at an unmarked van in self-defense after being hit with what turned out to be rubber bullets.

A jury acquitted him on all charges earlier this summer.

A spokesman for MPD declined to respond to the criticism, citing “professional courtesy and out of respect for Sheriff Deringer’s leadership position.”