Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges' unusual move to block the promotion of a police lieutenant to a high-profile position has apparently frustrated the chief and surprised some community members.
There's an array of opinions on whether Lt. John Delmonico should lead the north Minneapolis police station, as chief Janee Harteau wanted.
But after Hodges said Delmonico was unfit for the job, many people were left confused and wondering who's supposed to be leading the city's cops.
Many share Minneapolis NAACP president Jason Sole's reaction to how it all played out in public: "I would think some conversation would have taken place between the chief and her before the appointment. It seems reasonable to believe."
It all started Wednesday night when Harteau announced Delmonico, a former union head, as the new 4th Precinct head. Just hours later, Hodges bucked the chief and said Delmonico wouldn't be a good fit.
Thursday morning, Harteau fired back in another statement, saying she was disappointed with the mayor's decision.
"As Chief, it is my responsibility to make personnel decisions that I see best for the operations and management of the department, and best serve our community," Harteau wrote.
That public spat is troubling to Cathy Spann, executive director of the Jordan Area Community Council in north Minneapolis. She is also a candidate for the 5th Ward council seat.
"We have a chief of police that says, 'I'm going to appoint these individuals.' Great. OK, Spann said. "Then a couple hours later the mayor comes in and says, 'Oh, no you're not.'"
While the mayor has power under the city charter to make such a move, Spann said it looks dysfunctional. And she says it is causing uncertainty in parts of the 4th Precinct.
That's the same concern expressed in a press release from Minneapolis police union head Lt. Bob Kroll. He criticized the mayor's decision to block the chief, saying it undercut Harteau's authority.
Kroll pointed to a U.S. Department of Justice assessment of how the city and police department responded to an 18-day demonstration outside the 4th Precinct station in 2015.
The report's authors blamed Hodges for some miscommunication between her office and the police chief.
Kroll said that report left some to wonder, "Who's really in charge?"
Representatives for Hodges and Harteau declined to make them available to talk for the story.
Sole agrees with the mayor's decision to rescind Delmonico's promotion.
He said Delmonico has too much baggage stemming from the 2014 so-called Pointergate incident. That's when Hodges posed in a photo with an African-American man as they pointed their fingers at each other.
• Explaining #pointergate: The missing context
A local news story quoted Delmonico and other police sources saying the mayor and the man were making gang signs.
But some think Hodges got it wrong.
Longtime Minneapolis civil rights advocate and activist Ron Edwards says Delmonico is the right person for the job.
Edwards worked alongside Delmonico in the mid-2000s when they were members of a police-citizen panel tasked with implementing a federally mediated agreement between the community and police department.
Edwards, who is black, said Delmonico, who is white, has earned a lot of respect from members of the black community over the years. Edwards also pointed out that as head of the union, Delmonico voted against defending two white officers who in 2013 used racial slurs while off duty in Green Bay Wisconsin.
"John Delmonico, as he has done a number of years before, took leadership in doing the right thing on an issue that was extremely sensitive," Edwards said.
Edwards has been actively involved in watching what goes on in the Minneapolis police department for more than 50 years, he said, and he's never seen a mayor overrule a chief on a high-profile appointment — at least not in public.