by Freddie Bell
One sentence in a Star Tribune article has led to the demotion of 28-year Minneapolis Police Department veteran, Deputy Chief/Chief of Staff, Art Knight. In an exclusive interview with KMOJ, Knight said Police Chief Medaria Arradondo demoted him to Lieutenant with no assignment for his statement Monday, which appeared in the Sunday October 18th edition of the Star Tribune newspaper.
The former Chief of Staff’s statement referenced the way the agency recruits, trains, and promotes ethnic minorities and women on the force. Knight told the paper, “if you keep employing the same tactics, you’re just going to get the same old white boys.”
“Police officers should reflect the communities they protect and serve,” he said today. Historically the MPD has not been very diverse and the departure of nearly 200 officers is a chance to improve diversity in its ranks, he said.
Knight said he was demoted because people were offended by his comments. Knight said he meant no malice in his statement and, “people should be more offended at the lack of diversity in the department rather than my word choice.”
Calling the demotion disappointing and frustrating, Knight said, “it’s a shame that one sentence could hijack the narrative.”
Over the next few days, Knight said he will take some time off, evaluate his position, and decide on his next steps.
Knight has served in several investigative roles and worked in the 3rd and 4th precincts. His investigative experience includes assignments in Public Housing, Sex Crimes, Family Violence and Assault.
He recently served as a lieutenant in the 4th Precinct and as leader of the MPD’s Procedural Justice Team, which facilitated department wide training focused on history and how it relates to police interactions. As Chief of Staff, Knight was a connection between the MPD and the community while overseeing including the National Initiative for Building Trust and Legitimacy
Inquiries to Chief Arradondo were not immediately returned.