Dolan claims 2 cops dismissed over U.S. Attorney Office pressure - KMSP-TV

Dolan claims 2 cops dismissed over U.S. Attorney Office pressure

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

On the seventh day of a whistle-blower lawsuit filed by two officers, Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan testified that pressure from the U.S. Attorney's Office is what led the pair to be relieved of duty.

The two officers at the center of the case were working undercover as members of the Minneapolis Police Department's violent offender task force and the federal Safe Streets Program. Together, their work led to more than 50 federal indictments.

Yet, last year their reputations weren't enough to keep them on the force. Getting a straight answer as to why is what this trial is all about.

On Valentines Day in 2011, Deputy Chief Scott Gerlicher made it clear he wanted Lt. Andy Smith and Sgt. Pat King to be relieved of duty immediately. Now, their civil suit claims that decision was made out of retaliation against the two for investigating corrupt cops.

Smith and King say they were ostracized, and even had a toy rat hung on their office door -- a way of saying they shouldn't rat out their fellow officers.

On the stand, Gerlicher testified that the corruption probe played no role. Instead, he said he had "serious concerns over the management of the unit" and said those issues bore a "striking resemblance to problems on the gang strike force."

Yet, Deputy Chief Rob Allen -- who supervised Smith and King -- testified that Gerlicher was "poisoning the well" with the two, openly referring to them as "scammers."

Last week, Assistant Chief Janee Harteau testified that Gerlicher relied on "rumor and innuendo" with Smith and King, and she also accused Gerlicher of "withholding information."

The department had previously said that overtime charges and missing department equipment led to the demotions; but Dolan pointed a finger at the feds on Wednesday, saying the MPD had to maintain a good working relationship but could not with Smith and King.

Neither the U.S. Attorney nor the FBI official who allegedly took issue with King and Smith were called to testify, and the U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment on the case.

Evidently, the bad blood stems back to the Joe Gustafson Sr. RICO case, which the U.S. attorney refused to prosecute. The state, however, got a conviction right away.

Dolan also stuck up for Gerlicher, who he has known since he was a rookie -- but it's unclear why he won't show the same kind of backbone for two respected officers. He did tell FOX 9 News that he had just returned from vacation when he made the decision to relieve Smith and King. Dolan admitted that he was tired at the time and said he wishes he had taken more time with the decision.

Smith and King are still with the department in what they consider lesser roles.

"What you have is a bunch of hearsay allegations -- schoolyard allegations -- in this case," said Patrick Burns, attorney for the officers.

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