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Brownsdale fires police chief

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BROWNSDALE — Over the strong objection of a former mayor, the Brownsdale City Council on Monday voted unanimously to immediately terminate Police Chief Jason Wyatt Mindrup.

Last Wednesday, Mindrup, 42, was charged in Mower County District Court with first- and third-degree criminal sexual conduct. He had been on leave because of an investigation that began a few months ago. The alleged assault was reported on Aug. 31 near Brownsdale, a town of nearly 700 people about 40 miles southwest of Rochester.

The council met in closed session for about 10 minutes Monday and when it reopened to the public, Council Member Jerry McCloud offered the motion to terminate Mindrup.

Robb Luthe, who was on the council 28 years and was mayor four years, however, objected. He wanted to have Mindrup put on indefinite unpaid leave rather than fire him. "To me, you're saying he's guilty until proven innocent."

"Not at all," said Mayor David Pike.

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Luthe persisted. "I feel you are making a big mistake and I think the council should reconsider."

Pike said the city has talked with its city attorney extensively.

With that, the vote was taken and it was unanimous.

"That is all the council is going to address on that topic tonight," he said.

While Luthe shook his head, the Rev. Ken Petzold thanked the city council for its work.

In a later interview, Luthe said he knows the city can legally terminate Mindrup but said "Jason has been a loyal employee for about 20 years." It's true not everyone agreed with what Mindrup did but that's true with all city officials. When he was on the council, "not everybody liked what I did and that's OK because that's democracy in action." Most people liked how Mindrup did his job.

"Jason did his job and kept his nose clean," he said. "He was a good overall employee."

Personally, he said "I can't believe Jason could do something like that." The charges allege he drove with a woman outside Waltham, undressed and sexually assaulted her.

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Later in the meeting, Pike said the city will begin looking for a replacement for Mindrup. It has hired Tom Brogan as an interim officer. Brogan said he hasn't decided if he will apply for the job.

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