A Minnesota Department of Corrections officer is no longer with the department after video footage captured last month showed him harassing peaceful anti-police brutality protestors.
On Wednesday, May 12, Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell said in a statement that Sgt. Paul Gorder, who worked at the Correctional Facility-Stillwater, was no longer an employee at the department. The announcement comes on the heels of an internal investigation into an incident in which the 26-year veteran of the department and his wife Kimberly Beer were seen confronting a crowd of peaceful protesters, many of whom were Black and brown.
In a nearly 40-second video that has since made its rounds on the internet, Gorder confronted protesters outside the home of Washington County Attorney Pete Orput. Orput was appointed as special prosecutor to handle the case of Kim Potter, the former Brooklyn Center police officer charged with second-degree manslaughter for shooting Daunte Wright during a traffic stop and attempted arrest for an outstanding warrant in the Twin Cities suburb of Brooklyn Center last month. The demonstrators wanted the charges against Potter upgraded to murder.
Gorder could be heard yelling “F-ck you, f-ckers!” while his wife stood alongside him outside their home hurling racial slurs, telling protesters on the sidewalk, “All you f-cking n-ggers, get out here!” One protester shouted back, “It is a duty to fight for our freedom!” Many witnesses told reporters that they believed the couple to be intoxicated at the time of the incident.
Gorder was placed on investigative leave following the incident while the Department of Corrections’ Office of Professional Accountability reviewed his conduct. Subsequently, Beer lost her job at Fantastic Sam’s, a hair salon in the neighborhood of Maplewood. At the time, a spokesperson for the salon condemned Beer’s behavior, saying, “Our number one priority is the community, the guests that come in the door, and our staff. And we are taking action.”
As for the former officer, Schnell highlighted that under state law, Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, the nature of the investigation or any discipline or data documenting the action would not be made public until the arbitration process was completed.
“The Department of Corrections is an agency with more than 4,300 employees whose skills and commitment make Minnesota safer, and I am very proud of the work being done by our staff,” he continued. “When concerns about the conduct of an agency staff member arise, I am compelled to act in a manner that ensures public trust while ensuring that the employee is afforded all the rights and protections guaranteed by law and their union’s collective bargaining agreement.”