Lieutenant sues Minneapolis mayor alleging defamation

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minneapolis police lieutenant is suing the mayor who blocked his promotion, alleging she defamed him in a text message to the chief.

In a lawsuit Friday, Lt. John Delmonico alleges Mayor Betsy Hodges called him untrustworthy and racist in a text message to then-chief Janee Harteau. The chief had announced Delmonico as her pick to take over as Fourth Precinct inspector.

Hodges later blocked it, saying she should have had more notice. She and Delmonico, a former police union head, had sparred publicly before the appointment, including a widely publicized incident in which some law enforcement officials accused Hodges of flashing a gang sign in a photo with a black canvasser.

Hodges, up for re-election in November, called it a “patently baseless” lawsuit aimed at influencing the election.

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This story has been corrected to delete an erroneous reference to the mayor initially approving the promotion.

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Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

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