On August 8th, Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan demoted Lee Edwards from the position of Inspector at the 4th Precinct, on Plymouth Avenue in North Minneapolis. "Lee Edwards is no longer serving in the appointed inspector's position and will be reassigned," the Minneapolis Police Department said in a press release. On August 8th, Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan demoted Lee Edwards from the position of Inspector at the 4th Precinct, on Plymouth Avenue in North Minneapolis. "Lee Edwards is no longer serving in the appointed inspector's position and will be reassigned," the Minneapolis Police Department said in a press release.
Photo: Edwards (left) and Dolan during a prior meeting with the press.
The next day, Thursday, August 9th, Dolan announced that Michael Martin had replaced Edwards as precinct commander.
Edwards' removal appears symptomatic of the Police Department's and the City of Minneapolis' retrenchment away from inclusion of officers of color in leadership within the Minneapolis Police Department, said members of an ecumenical church leaders group in a letter last week to Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak and Chief Dolan.
The group plans to meet with Rybak to voice the concerns and interests of citizens who are members of some 78 churches with active constituencies of more than 13,000 urban community members. In the letter from Bishop Richard Howell, Pastor of Shiloh Temple International; Bishop Fred W. Washington, Prelate, Minnesota Ecclesiastical Division of the Church of God In Christ; Reverend Jerry McAfee, President, Minnesota State Baptist Convention; and Reverend Randolph Staten, Co-chair, Coalition of Black Churches/African American Leadership Summit, church leaders questioned why Black officers are being relieved of their authority across the board by Dolan.
"In the last administration, there were 10 officers of color in leadership positions. However, over the past several months, we have seen many of these officers relieved of their authority," the clergymen wrote. "For example, Don Harris was demoted from deputy chief to lieutenant; Mike Davis was give the status of a junior lieutenant; Lt. Medaria Arrandondo, who was not returned to his post as head of the STOP unit, will be removed from his command in two months; and Lee Edwards became inspector of the fourth Precinct, losing the position of head of Homicide unit. Additionally, the Homicide unit lost two Black investigators; the first African American supervisory sergeant is no more, and Deputy Chief Val Wurster will be retiring at the end of December."
According to news reports, Edwards' removal followed allegations that he returned to the precinct in a police vehicle after having had drinks with the family whose son's murder he had doggedly resolved, leading to a conviction. Reports indicated Dolan's action was also precipitated by allegations of inappropriate language Edwards allegedly used.
People close to 4th Precinct affairs called the decision incredulous, and unbelievable, citing Edwards' long standing service as a model cop and advocate for diversity, inclusion, fairness, and respect. The clergy leaders said differential treatment and discipline against Black officers, while the city is paying out hundreds of thousands of dollars for alleged abusive behaviors of some officers, who don't get punished or reprimanded, doesn't add up.
Inspector Martin has served with the Minneapolis Police Department since 1991 and is regarded as an expert on gang crimes. He headed last summer's Safe City Initiative that is credited with decreasing crime in many neighborhoods. Martin is a graduate of two executive development programs: the Southern Police Institute in 1998 and the Senior Management Institute for Police in 2006. Martin has held assignments in patrol, investigations and special operations, recently serving as the captain in command of the Department's Criminal Investigation Division where he supervised the operations of the major investigative units.
According to the MPD press release, "Colleagues describe Inspector Martin as a good ma