HENNEPIN COUNTY, Minn. — Calls are mounting for the resignation of Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson, after five of the county's seven commissioners released statements amid new revelations following his recent DWI conviction.
The commissioners include District 1 Commissioner Jeffrey Joneal Lunde, District 2 Commissioner Irene Fernando, District 3 Commissioner Marion Greene, District 4 Commissioner Angela Conley and District 6 Commissioner Chris LaTrondresse — most of whom said Hutchinson's actions had eroded public trust and faith that the laws of the county would be diligently upheld and modeled by one of its senior leading law enforcers.
Fernando, who first called for Hutchinson's resignation on Jan. 5, a day earlier than her colleagues, called the sheriff's actions "egregious," outlining in detail the moments she said ultimately informed her decision to call for his resignation.
In a release, Fernando mentions a call she and the sheriff had on Dec. 17, in which she urged Hutchinson to take administrative leave.
"I believed during that call and even more today that your recovery should be the sole focus of your time so you can receive the health support required to improve your wellness," she said.
Fernando says public comments made by Hutchinson on Dec. 26 pushed her further to her decision, in which she says Hutchinson "normalized" drunk driving, disrespecting "the approximately 120 Minnesotan families who lost a loved one to alcohol-related crashes in 2021."
"The only way to maintain the dignity of the Sheriff's Office and to show respect for the laws you are sworn to uphold is to resign immediately," Fernando said.
Her sentiments were echoed by her four district colleagues, with Commissioner Jeffrey Joneal Lunde saying, "With the current tense climate around public safety, an incident like this involving the head public safety official of Hennepin County needs to be addressed...trust needs to be earned and I know that accountability is central to building and maintaining trust."
Meanwhile, Commissioner Marion Greene said, "Hutchinson's actions and subsequent comments have eroded public confidence [in] his ability to serve and equitably enforce laws. For these reasons I believe Sheriff Hutchinson should resign."
Commissioner Chris LaTrondresse issued a statement saying in part, "Public trust is the foundation of public safety. The path to restoring trust between our community and the agency Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson represents is imperiled by his continued service in this role."
Lastly, Commissioner Angela Conley tweeted out to her followers, "Like you, I believe that Sheriff Hutchinson needs to resign immediately and allow room for a leader who can do this work in a healthy space."
Hutchinson pleaded guilty to a fourth-degree DWI back in December following a rollover crash that occurred on Dec. 8 after attending the Minnesota Sheriff's Association 2021 winter conference at Alexandria's Arrowwood Resort.
A recently unsealed search warrant reveals Hutchinson initially denied being the driver following his drunken crash, and told a Douglas County sheriff's deputy at the scene that a cab driver he called to take him home had crashed his vehicle.
Sheriff Hutchinson released the following response:
"I am fully committed to continuing to serve the people of Hennepin County who elected me. I will let the citizens, not politicians, decide my future in November."
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