The Potluck

Hennepin County Sheriff says he won’t resign amid mounting calls for him to step down

By: - January 7, 2022 12:26 pm

Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson. Photo courtesy of Hennepin County.

Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson says he will remain in office even as county officials call for him to resign after Hutchinson crashed a county vehicle while driving drunk in early December.

Five of seven Hennepin County commissioners have urged the sheriff to step down. In response, Hutchinson said in a statement to the Reformer that he is “fully committed to continuing to serve the people of Hennepin County” who elected him in 2019.

“I will let the citizens, not politicians, decide my future in November,” Hutchinson said.

Commissioners Marion Greene, Chris LaTondresse, Angela Conley, Irene Fernando and Jeffrey Lunde called for Hutchinson’s resignation in separate statements Wednesday and Thursday. Commissioners have power over the county’s public safety budget but cannot remove the sheriff from office.

“Hutchinson’s actions and subsequent comments have eroded public confidence his ability [sic] to serve and equitably enforce laws,” Greene, the chair of the board, said in a tweet Thursday.

Hutchinson pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor DWI charge after the Dec. 8 crash, which took place following a state sheriffs’ conference near Alexandria. Later that month, a WCCO reporter asked during an interview if Hutchinson had ever driven drunk before, and he replied, “Everyone has at some point.”

A search warrant released in early January showed that immediately after the crash, Hutchinson repeatedly denied to a sheriff’s deputy that he was the driver in the single-vehicle roll-over. At one point, he claimed a cab driver was behind the wheel.

A sixth Hennepin County commissioner, Kevin Anderson, stopped short of explicitly pushing for the sheriff to leave office, saying in a tweet that he hopes Hutchinson is “making decisions that are in the best interest” of residents and “ultimately the voters will make that decision.”

Commissioner Debbie Goettel hasn’t made a public statement.

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Rilyn Eischens
Rilyn Eischens

Rilyn Eischens is a former data reporter for the Minnesota Reformer. Rilyn was born and raised in Minnesota and has worked in newsrooms in the Twin Cities, Iowa, Texas and most recently Virginia, where she covered education for The Staunton News Leader. She's an alumna of the Dow Jones News Fund data journalism program and the Minnesota Daily. When Rilyn isn't in the newsroom, she likes to read, add to her plant collection and try new recipes.