The Latest: 2 Minneapolis cops on leave after tree decor

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Latest on inappropriate items placed on a Christmas tree at a Minneapolis police precinct (all times local):

6:10 p.m.

Two Minneapolis police officers have been placed on paid leave after their apparent involvement in Christmas tree decorations that the city’s mayor called “despicable.”

A tree at a precinct on the city’s North Side was decorated with items such as Newport cigarettes, police crime tape, a can of malt liquor and other things that Mayor Jacob Frey and others viewed as racist.

Frey called for the officer involved to be fired by day’s end, but later recognized that a process has to be followed. Two officers were instead put on paid leave.

Chief Medaria Arradondo said the incident was being investigated. He said the display was racially insensitive and said he would not tolerate conduct that departs from department values.

The head of the police officer’s union did not immediately return a message from The Associated Press seeking comment.


12:45 p.m.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey says a police officer accused of decorating a precinct Christmas tree with items such as a cigarette pack and police tape will be fired.

Frey called the officer’s behavior “racist, despicable” and says the unidentified officer’s termination is necessary.

The tree is in the precinct on the city’s North Side, which has a fractured relationship with police.

A picture of the tree circulated online before the items were removed. They apparently included a pack of Newport cigarettes, a cup from Popeye’s Louisiana Chicken, a bag of Takis and a can of Steel Reserve beer.

The Star Tribune reports that City Council Member Phillipe Cunningham wrote on Facebook that an officer hung the inappropriate items as a prank after the tree was decorated.

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