Black MPD lieutenant sues department after demotion over “white boys” quote
Art Knight was deputy chief and chief of staff when his Star Tribune quote on hiring MPDs for diversity led to his demotion, according to the lawsuit.
MINNEAPOLIS – Art Knight has been with the Minneapolis Police Department for 28 years and has risen through the ranks to the Deputy Chief and Chief of Staff. A new lawsuit was filed in May and filed this week for racial discrimination, retaliation, retaliation and a hostile work environment after a quote Knight gave to the Star Tribune on the subject of diversity.
It was a provocative quote in an October Star Tribune article about the MPD’s struggles to hire and retain officers of color. In the article, Knight said that if the department continues to use the same hiring tactics, let’s quote, “You’re just going to have the same old white boys.”
In a racial discrimination lawsuit, Knight now says that a longtime friend and fellow African American, Chief Medaria Arradondo, called him, said he “got a lot of calls and pressure” and has demoted Knight to lieutenant.
Knight is a well-known black officer with PDM.
According to the lawsuit, after Knight’s demotion, “derogatory messages appeared on the precinct’s blackboards and on social media – some white officers proclaimed and bragged that while the now demoted Lieutenant Knight was tasked with supervising their patrol, they would refuse to follow his orders. “
Knight continues in the lawsuit alleging several other acts of racism committed by white officers, such as:
- A sergeant now in charge of a department program using the N-word “openly and often.”
- Another sergeant who serves the diverse Northside by posting racist memes on social media.
- And another white officer referring to the Somali people of Minneapolis with a racist remark about American Muslims.
The lawsuit calls on the Minneapolis Police Federation and then union president Bob Kroll for remaining silent on these issues while calling the Knight’s Star Tribune quote “racial.”
Knight says his statement was, in fact, objectively true.
The Minneapolis Police Department and the city attorney’s office declined to comment on the active trial.
Knight and his lawyers declined an interview, they said, because he is still an active employee.