Minneapolis police commander out over 'despicable' tree

Photo courtesy of KSTP

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The commander of a Minneapolis police precinct has been replaced following the uproar over Christmas tree decorations that the mayor said amounted to a "racist display."

Minneapolis Police spokesman John Elder confirmed Monday that inspector Aaron Biard had been removed as commander of the Fourth Precinct on the city's north side. Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said in a statement that Assistant Chief Mike Kjos will be responsible for the precinct's day-to-day operations until a replacement is found.

The Star Tribune reports Kjos previously served as the precinct's commander.

Two Minneapolis officers were placed on paid leave Friday for their apparent involvement in the decorations. The Christmas tree at the precinct station was decorated with items such as Newport cigarettes, police crime tape, a can of malt liquor and a Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen cup.

Mayor Jacob Frey said the decorations amounted to a "racist display." A picture of the tree circulated online before the items were removed.

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