CRYSTAL, Minn. -- Dozens of people gathered outside the Crystal City Hall Monday night to show their support for two officers out on paid administrative leave.
"There is no reason they shouldn't be on the job right now. They should be on the streets protecting us," said Ben McHenry, who came out to show his support.
Officer Allan Watt and Sgt. Ron Erkenbrack have been on leave for nearly a year now. The two men say it is in retaliation for speaking out against the chief and some department practices.
Many in the community agree, speaking before the city council to demand answers and action.
"You've got two wonderful men that are being paid to do nothing, wasting our taxpayer dollars supporting our community. And your job is to make sure this is expedited as soon as possible," said Karen Lincoln.
The mayor and city council claim they know as little as the public does about the issue, saying they don't have access to information about the officers and their employment because of data practice issues. That doesn't sit well with Communities United Against Police Brutality, the group working with the officers to try and get them back on the job.
"I don't know how any boss doesn't get to know what their employees know. This to me is crazy. I've never heard such a thing ... And I have several employees who work for me in my job," said Michelle Gross with CUAPB.
The council planned to have a closed-door meeting after the council meeting to get some of that "off-limits" information. The mayor said they were doing so even after the city attorney advised them not to.
Mayor Jim Adams said the council cannot make an informed decision without knowing both sides of the story. When a decision will come and just how involved the council will get remains to be seen.
"We need both of them back to work. This is nonsense," said resident Daisy Gunn.
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