Police Commander Demoted Over Racist Christmas Tree

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Joshua Gill Religion Reporter
Font Size:

The Minneapolis Police Department demoted one of its commanders Monday over station Christmas tree decorations that black community leaders decried as racist.

The police department announced that Inspector Aaron Biard, commander of north Minneapolis’ Fourth Police Precinct, was demoted to the rank of lieutenant and relegated to the traffic unit over a station Christmas tree decorated with Funyuns and Takis bags, empty cans of Steel Reserve malt liquor, two packs of Newport cigarettes, a Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen cup, and a strip of police tape, the Star Tribune reported. The decorations were taken down after an online photo of the tree stirred public outcry from city officials and black community leaders. (RELATED: REPORT: Hatchet-Wielding ‘Foreign-Born’ Arrested After Shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ In German Christmas Market)

Assistant Chief Mike Kjos, the precinct’s previous commander, will serve as a temporary replacement for Biard until a permanent replacement is found.

While the MPD has not named the two police officers responsible for the decorations, the Star Tribune identified the officers as 21-year veterans Mark Bohnsack and Brandy Steberg. The MPD said that no officer will comment on the incident as it is under an active investigation. Steberg and Bohnsack, therefore, have not clarified whether the decorations were a race-based joke or were simply pieces of litter collected from the surrounding area.

Minneapolis Councilman Phillipe Cunningham and Mayor Jacob Frey, both Democrats, nevertheless lambasted the decorations as a mockery and stereotype of black people, with Frey initially calling for the officers’ termination. Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo also denounced the decorations and announced that a full investigation of the incident was underway.

Bohnsack and Steberg have been placed on paid leave pending the results of the investigation.

Follow Joshua on Twitter
Send tips to

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact