MADISON LAKE — The Madison Lake City Council’s closed session regarding Police Chief Dan Bunde lasted more than an hour Monday, but officials declined to share any new details afterward on its investigation into his controversial Facebook post.
Monday was the City Council’s first meeting since a tipster alerted the public to a since-deleted, self-recorded video of Bunde mocking non-English speakers.
More specifics on what was discussed in Monday’s closed session should be provided at the Council’s Oct. 1 meeting, according to Minnesota open meeting laws.
Mayor Ken Reichel and City Administrator Curt Kephart both declined to comment on the police chief. Earlier in the meeting, two people spoke about Bunde during the open public comment period.
The first, Jon Schneider of Eagle Lake, said he had a hard time believing Bunde was a racist, citing the police chief’s adoption of a child from a foreign country.
“Anyone thinking he’s a racist guy, I don’t know,” he said. “I have a hard time believing that.”
Outside the meeting, he said he’s known Bunde for years and “this deal about him being prejudiced is the farthest thing from the truth.”
Chris Schmahl spoke out against Bunde during his public comments. He alleged problems with the police chief go beyond any racist accusations.
“It’s going to happen where he’s going to cost this town a lot of money for something he does,” he said.
After he finished, the Madison Lake man exchanged words with City Attorney Jason Moran regarding a legal matter. Moran told Schmahl the legal issue had nothing to do with Bunde.
The scarcity of further public comments was a stark contrast to the initial outcry surrounding the police chief’s post. The American Civil Liberties Union’s Racial Justice Project Coordinator Julio Zelaya called for a city investigation into the video as well as whether Bunde has shown any patterns of discrimination.
Kephart at first indicated the city wouldn’t take any action against Bunde because the complaint was anonymous. A couple days later, he released a statement saying the city would “review and take appropriate action if action is deemed warranted.”
In the self-recorded video of Bunde at Yellowstone National Park over the summer, he indicated he was surrounded by non-English speakers before mocking the way they sound. He concluded the short video by telling viewers “Wake up America.”
The anonymous tipster contacted media outlets about the post weeks later, and Bunde deleted it. He hasn’t yet publicly responded to the criticism and wasn’t in attendance Monday.
Kephart did confirm Bunde has held his current role for the last 20 years. In addition to him, the city employs another full-time officer and three part-time officers.