Just days after controversy erupted over a racist Christmas tree on display at the Minneapolis Police Department's 4th Precinct, Chief Medaria Arradondo has assigned a new inspector to lead the north Minneapolis precinct.
Images of a Christmas tree decorated with beer cans, cigarettes and police tape spread quickly on social media Friday. It was condemned by members of the public, activists and Minneapolis City Council members, including Council Member Jeremiah Ellison, who represents the area. Ellison said it's "the type of thing that always instills fear in the community."
Inspector Aaron Biard, who has led the precinct since 2017, is being replaced by Assistant Chief Mike Kjos. Kjos previously led the precinct starting in 2012 and again in 2016. In a statement, Arradondo said Kjos will lead the precinct "until a decision is made on the next inspector."
Mayor Jacob Frey said in a statement that he supports the chief's decision, and that "it reflects his resolve to make meaningful change."
Frey has vowed to take action against the officers involved in decorating the tree. The police department confirms that two officers are on paid leave, and that the incident is being investigated. The department hasn't released the officers' names.