Fargo Deputy Chief of Police Todd Osmundson has been suspended without pay for his actions during Saturday night’s protests in the wake of the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
But if the Fargo Police Department is serious about positive community relations and reform, a one-week suspension is not enough. The ACLU of North Dakota is calling for Osmundson’s resignation, effective immediately.
After participating in uniform during a peaceful protest on Saturday, Osmundson changed into civilian clothes and wore a face mask and sunglasses and infiltrated protesters in downtown Fargo that night, joining in protesters’ chants against the police. His unapproved, undercover, agitator conduct needs to be addressed – not just the fact that he made disparaging remarks about the police while “undercover.”
The following statement can be attributed to Dane DeKrey, advocacy director for the ACLU of North Dakota:
“Now more than ever, law enforcement should be respecting the First Amendment rights of people who are protesting in the streets — not attempting to add fuel to the fire, as Todd Osmundson did Saturday night. While Osmundson says he acted alone, that doesn’t excuse his behavior. If officers feel like they can act like vigilantes and not follow orders and do as they please like this, that’s a bad sign for the Fargo Police Department.
“Osmundson’s actions – and his minor punishment – only deepen the pain and anguish of Black communities and serves as a pointed illustration of the growing distrust of law enforcement officers among the public. The public has a right to know if they can trust the public servants who are given the authority to take away their liberty. What Osmundson did undermines the trust and confidence in the Fargo’s criminal justice system for everyone.”
About the ACLU of North Dakota
The American Civil Liberties Union of North Dakota is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU of North Dakota is part of a three-state chapter that also includes South Dakota and Wyoming. The team in North Dakota is supported by staff in those states.
The ACLU believes freedoms of press, speech, assembly, and religion, and the rights to due process, equal protection and privacy, are fundamental to a free people. In addition, the ACLU seeks to advance constitutional protections for groups traditionally denied their rights, including people of color, women, and the LGBTQ communities. The ACLU of North Dakota carries out its work through selective litigation, lobbying at the state and local level, and through public education and awareness of what the Bill of Rights means for the people of North Dakota.