MINNEAPOLIS – The Minneapolis police union says Chief Brian O’Hara was being dishonest when he claimed to be unaware of a new officer’s prior assault charge.
The Minnesota Reformer reported in April that the Minneapolis Police Department had hired Tyler Timberlake, a former Virginia police officer who had left the Fairfax Police Department in good standing and eligible for rehire with the agency. In June 2020, Timberlake was charged with three counts of misdemeanor assault and battery on an unarmed black man.
He was acquitted of all charges in March 2022.
After the story broke, O’Hara suggested in statements to the media that he was unaware of Timberlake’s past.
“I am extremely concerned about what I have just learned pertaining to the hiring of this individual who is currently in agency training and yet to be deployed into service,” he said. “Effective immediately, I am directing that a thorough investigation be conducted into this matter. The individual in question will not be deployed or serve in a law enforcement capacity in any way until we conclude a full investigation into this matter. We will get to the bottom of this and take whatever measures are necessary to ensure we are always hiring officers who meet our standards and that we are ultimately placing only the most qualified and competent police into the service and protection in the City of Minneapolis”
The Star Tribune then reported on Thursday that Timberlake and the MPD had “separated.”
In response, Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis President Sgt. Sherral Schmidt said “Chief O’Hara was in the final interview of Timberlake and was fully aware of his history.”
“During his final interview, he was assured by Chief O’Hara he would be okay, if he did good work. This is clearly not the case,” she said.
Schmidt said there is nothing that precludes Timberlake from being a police officer in Minnesota and pointed to his many years of experience in law enforcement.
“The hiring of Timberlake was not an issue until an April 19 news article created a politically charged narrative of his hiring, which grew in intensity, when Chief O’Hara stated, ‘I am extremely concerned about what I have just learned pertaining to the hiring of this individual who is currently in agency training and yet to be deployed into service,’” she said.
Additionally, Crime Watch Minneapolis released emails Thursday showing Timberlake disclosed his history to city officials in September 2022 and confirming O’Hara was involved in the interview process.
The two emails below show Chief O’Hara sat in on Timberlake’s interview in an email dated April 20, 2023, and the second email shows Timberlake disclosed the critical incident matter to MPD as early as September 26, 2022. pic.twitter.com/FobE4YAviA
— CrimeWatchMpls (@CrimeWatchMpls) July 6, 2023
Timberlake wrote to Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Chief O’Hara in May to express his concern with the chief’s public comments, according to another email obtained by Crime Watch.
“Chief O’Hara’s recent statements regarding my employment with MPD are factually false and can be proven as such,” Timberlake said. “In other words, I am writing to express my grave concern that Chief O’Hara has defamed me and may continue to do so.”
Timberlake concluded by urging O’Hara to “own the truth, which will show that he interviewed me and approved of my hire after a full disclosure of events.”
O’Hara declined to comment when contacted through a spokesperson Friday.
This article originally appeared at Alpha News and was reprinted with permission.