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Interim MPD Chief promotes once-fired officer to training commander

David Garman was fired in 2009 for role in Metro Gang Task Force, rehired in 2010 after reaching agreement with MPD

MINNEAPOLIS — Interim Minneapolis Police Chief Amelia Huffman has promoted an officer once fired for alleged misconduct to the commander in charge of all training at MPD.

David Garman assumed the role of training commander on Jan. 30 in Huffman’s first round of promotions in her new position, according to an email sent by Huffman to all MPD officers obtained by KARE 11.

On Sept. 22, 2009, then-Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan fired Garman for his role in the Metro Gang Strike Force in connection with the seizure of cell phones during a raid, according to Star Tribune reports from the time. Strike Force officers were found through an internal affairs investigation to have used the cell phones themselves.

MPD left the regional Strike Force, and it was completely shut down in 2009 after a legislative audit discovered $18,000 and several vehicles seized in raids could not be found.

Garman was also named as a defendant in a federal lawsuit in 2009 that accused him and other officers of breaking into a home without knocking or announcing their presence, detaining and photographing the people inside, and seizing computers and cell phones.

Attorney Bruce Nestor, who represented the family in that suit, told KARE 11 that the city of Minneapolis settled that case by paying his clients $16,000.

“The fact that any officer in a leadership capacity with the Metro Gang Strike Task Force would be promoted to be in charge of training for the entire Minneapolis Police Department demonstrates that the culture of abuse and disregard for citizens rights which has characterized the MPD in the past remains the culture of the Department today,” Nestor said in a statement to KARE 11 in reaction to Garman's promotion.

An April 2010 Star Tribune article says Garman filed a grievance after his termination and MPD reached an agreement to rehire him in April 2010. MPD reduced Garman’s firing to a 30-hour suspension and paid him seven months of back pay, minus 30 hours. The agreement happened prior to a scheduled arbitration hearing where details could have become public. Neither side has disclosed the reasons for undoing the termination.

After he was re-hired, Garman served as the Department’s Health and Wellness Coordinator as a sergeant, led the assault investigations unit as a lieutenant, and earned his master's degree in counseling psychology.

Since 2009, Garman has served as an adjunct professor in the law enforcement skills program at Rasmussen College and as an instructor in MPD training programs including crisis intervention.

Interim Chief Huffman did not provide a statement when asked through a spokesperson about Garman's promotion. The Minneapolis Police Federation told KARE 11 that Garman has no comment.

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