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'Let’s get rid of them,' Hennepin Co. Sheriff said of officers who break the law

In a podcast recorded days before his DWI crash, Sheriff Hutchinson said officers who break the law need to go.

HENNEPIN COUNTY, Minn — Sheriff David Hutchinson remains adamant he won’t resign in the wake of his DWI conviction, even as the majority of the Hennepin County Board called for his resignation.

Hutchinson released a statement on Thursday saying he would let the voters decide his fate in November, "not politicians."

It’s a position in stark contrast to Hutchinson’s own words when speaking on the Andrew Parker Podcast just 10 days before his drunken crash totaled a county owned squad vehicle.

“We want to praise and hold our good cops and deputies to the highest standard possible, support them 100% of the time,” Sheriff Hutchinson said on the podcast. “But if cops do stupid stuff and they break the law, they break policy, let’s get rid of them!”

Weeks later, he appears unwilling to hold himself to that same standard.

Five of Hennepin County's seven commissioners have released statements calling for him to step down as sheriff.

"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," Commissioner Irene Fernando wrote.

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."

Commissioners Jeffrey Joneal Lunde,  Angela Conley and Chris LaTrondresse also called for his resignation.

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."

Calls for Hutchinson to quit office ramped up following search warrant revelations that Hutchinson initially denied driving the vehicle he later admitted to crashing while driving drunk near Alexandria on Dec. 8.

The warrant, filed on Dec. 10, states Hutchinson told both witnesses and responding deputies several times that he was not the person driving his county-owned vehicle involved in a rollover crash on Interstate 94.

The documents go on to say Hutchinson, who “had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating” from him, told a Douglas County sheriff's deputy at the scene, “that he had called a cab and that the cab driver was driving the vehicle.”

Hutchinson pleaded guilty a few days later to a single count of driving while intoxicated in the 4th degree.

In addition to his comments on the podcast that cops who break the law and policy should be gotten rid of, Hutchinson boasted, “We are some of the best trained law enforcement officers in the country and our training is fabulous.”

That statement is in contrast with KARE 11’s recent investigations revealing Hennepin Sheriff’s deputies were not properly trained that it is illegal to shackle women who are pregnant and in labor.

Last year, KARE 11 also exposed other failures on Sheriff Hutchinson’s watch including a pattern of mentally ill and potentially suicidal inmates not being supervised as the law requires.

Hutchinson, who campaigned on transparency, has refused countless interview requests by KARE 11 to discuss those issues and these latest related to his DWI. 

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