The Potluck

House Speaker Hortman: Hennepin County Sheriff Hutchinson should resign

By: - January 26, 2022 2:58 pm

House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, addresses reporters on Sep. 11, 2020, ahead of the start of a special legislative session. Photo by Ricardo Lopez/Minnesota Reformer

House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, said Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson should resign.

“His conduct constituted an egregious violation of the public trust, and I don’t think he can be effective as the chief law enforcement officer of Hennepin County under these circumstances,” Hortman said Wednesday in an interview with the Reformer. “He should resign and get the help that he needs.”

Last week, the Minnesota State Patrol released a trove of materials that showed Hutchinson had been driving more than 120 mph seconds before he crashed and was not wearing a seatbelt. Additionally, their investigation found that he called a local cab company seeking a ride around 1:20 a.m., about an hour before he crashed.

The materials painted a fuller picture of the crash. He said in media interviews in December that he had a few drinks and couldn’t sleep after attending a law enforcement convention at an Alexandria resort. He said he then intended to make the drive home to Bloomington, where he lives.

His blood alcohol level was .13%, according to a urine test taken nearly three hours after the crash. Dash-cam footage from police who responded to the crash show Hutchinson unsteady on his feet and captured him saying he was not driving the car.

Hutchinson, who has pledged to remain on the job, has faced growing calls for his resignation, including from DFL Gov. Tim Walz, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan and GOP lawmakers. Hortman is a constituent of Hutchinson’s.

Hutchinson has pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated after crashing his county-issued SUV in Alexandria on Interstate 94. 

A 90-day sentence has been stayed so long as he completes the terms of his two-year probation successfully. He has also enrolled in an outpatient treatment program for alcoholism.

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Ricardo Lopez
Ricardo Lopez

Ricardo Lopez is the senior political reporter for the Reformer. Ricardo is not new to Minnesota politics, previously reporting on the Dayton administration and statehouse for The Star Tribune from 2014 to 2017, and the Republican National Convention in 2016. Previously, he was a staff writer at The Los Angeles Times covering the California economy. He's a Las Vegas native who has adopted Minnesota as his home state. In his spare time, he likes to run, cook and volunteer with Save-a-Bull, a Minneapolis dog rescue group.