Minneapolis K9 officer sues city claiming discrimination

Minneapolis K9 officer sues city claiming discrimination Photo: KSTP

January 16, 2019 03:27 PM

A Minneapolis police officer is suing the city, claiming she was discriminated against by the sergeant overseeing her unit. 

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Officer Yvonne Edwards Monday in Hennepin County.

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According to the lawsuit, Edwards had served in the Minneapolis Police Department's K9 unit for 19 years. 

The lawsuit concerns Sgt. Andy Stender, who oversaw the department and is accused of creating "a discriminatory environment within the unit for several years." 

The lawsuit also alleged Stender demonstrated "discriminatory animus" toward women. 

According to a spokesperson for the Minneapolis Police Department, Stender is still employed with the department. 

The lawsuit says when Edwards requested to become a trainer within the unit, Stender said, "We have enough women," and assigned the position to a "less senior" male handler. 

According to the lawsuit, Edwards had to retake the 12-week K9 handler course after Stender removed the dog she was assigned. When Edwards finished the training, Stender asked, "Why don't you just retire," the lawsuit alleges. 

The lawsuit said when Edwards approached Stender for part-time work, where officers provide police services for other events, Stender told her he "did not want any women working under him in that capacity." 

In October, 2017, Stender started following Edwards in his squad car while she was on duty, according to the lawsuit. Edwards went to a superior, who told Stender to cease contact with Edwards.

The lawsuit said Stender admitted to following Edwards. 

This issue was brought to the human resource department, however, "nothing came of the numerous reports of Stender's discriminatory conduct," according to the lawsuit. 

Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal said her office is in the process of reviewing the lawsuit complaint. 

"Equity is a core value of the City, and we take allegations of discrimination very seriously," she said in a statement. 

A request for comment was forwarded to Stender by Minneapolis Police Federation President Bob Kroll. However, Stender has yet to respond. 

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Ben Rodgers

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