FARGO — Fargo Police Deputy Chief Todd Osmundson resigned Thursday, June 4, after he came under criticism for unauthorized actions during the George Floyd protest and riot in downtown Fargo last Saturday.
“It is with a proud heart that after 31 years I lay my badge down with as much honor to the City of Fargo that I can gather," he said in a Facebook post. "As of today, Thursday, June 4th, I am voluntarily resigning as Deputy Chief of the Fargo Police Department.”
Osmundson was first put on suspension earlier on Thursday after Fargo Police Chief David Todd and Mayor Tim Mahoney met with him to discuss his actions, which they say he chose to "undertake on his own without approval."
The former deputy chief initially came under scrutiny after co-workers complained in an email that during the protest, Osmundson held up a sign at the law enforcement center, held a beer can during the downtown riot, and said the words “f--- the police."
The officers' complaints were detailed in an email obtained through an open records request by Forum columnist Rob Port.
In his own email this week, Osmundson defended his decision to change into civilian clothes, don a mask and go undercover following the peaceful Saturday morning protests.
“I took actions on Saturday to protect all officers and the protesters and citizens of Fargo during Saturday’s events," the former deputy chief said. "Those actions led to distrust of this community and those among law enforcement and no amount of suspension will regain that trust.”
Before Osmundson’s resignation, Fargo police spokeswoman Jessica Schindeldecker said the original punishment was severe and that it was likely more discipline could come following an investigation.
“People are calling for his termination and criminal charges, but we have due process,” Schindeldecker said.
Osmundson added on his Facebook post that he is not allowed to discuss the investigation, but that his goal is to “serve this city no matter the race, gender, sexual orientation or religious background" of its people.
"I truly believe in doing what is best for our city," he said "It is now with my head held high I willingly step down from my command post,” he said.
Mahoney criticized Osmundson’s actions during the riot
“The actions of Deputy Chief Osmundson were outside of protocol, creating a danger for himself and any officer who may have needed to come to his aid," the mayor said in a statement. "Maintaining the public’s trust is critically important to our entire team."
Before Osmundson’s resignation, the ACLU of North Dakota on Thursday called for Osmundson's resignation, "effective immediately."
"If the Fargo Police Department is serious about positive community relations and reform, a one-week suspension is not enough," the ACLU said in a statement. "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."
In Osmundson's Facebook post announcing his departure from the police department, the former deputy chief said he hopes to aid in the fight against racial discrimination and police brutality.
“I’m fighting for my community. I’m fighting for equality, I’m fighting for justice, I’m doing what is right and what needs to be done," he said. "The time is now to use my voice and to stand for Black Lives Matter and do what I can as an individual to fight for those discriminated against.”