Minneapolis police deputy demoted over ‘white boys’ comment
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A high-ranking deputy to the Minneapolis’ police chief said he was demoted after he was quoted in a newspaper story referring to white officers as “white boys,” which led to a backlash within the department.
Art Knight, who is Black and who was Police Chief Medaria Arradondo’s chief of staff, said Arradondo took the action over the weekend after Knight was quoted in a story that ran in Sunday’s Star Tribune about law enforcement efforts to retain and recruit candidates of color.
While criticizing the department’s efforts to add diversity, Knight said that if the force continues on the same track to recruit, train and promote racial minorities and women then “you’re just going to get the same old white boys.”
There was swift backlash to Knight’s comments within the department, with some fellow officers saying on social media that the term he used was unnecessarily divisive.
Knight, who was Arrandondo’s chief of staff, said he will return to his civil service rank of lieutenant, the newspaper reported. Representatives of the department did not immediately respond to a phone message left Tuesday by The Associated Press.
The department has come under increasing pressure to change its culture since the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police in May. Floyd, a Black man who was in handcuffs and face-down, died after a white officer pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for several minutes while Floyd pleaded for air.