City of Red Wing puts sheriff candidate Kelly on paid leave

October 10, 2018


RED WING — The city of Red Wing placed police Sgt. Marty Kelly on paid administrative leave effective Oct. 5.

Red Wing Council Administrator Kay Kuhlmann said an allegation was made to the city against Kelly last week, and the city placed Kelly on paid leave while it conducts an investigation.

“They took my keys and my key fob and walked me out the door after a 30-year career, and they won’t even give me a one-sentence explanation,” Kelly said.

Kelly is currently running for Goodhue County Sheriff against Paul Gielau, a patrol commander with the sheriff’s office. The allegation comes with the general election only a month away.

Kuhlmann said due to the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act the city is unable to give any details on the nature of the allegation made against Kelly and, whether the complaint was made within the police department or by a member of the community. In fact, the city has not informed Kelly as to the nature of the allegation.

Red Wing Police Chief Roger Pohlman, who is out of town attending the International Association of Chiefs of Police annual convention, referred all questions to Kuhlmann.

“The timing is really unfortunate,” Kuhlmann said, noting the general election is now less than 30 days away. “But we have an obligation to investigate any allegations that are made.”

Kelly said he was walked out the door by a police captain who, himself, was on paid administrative leave for six months last year while an allegation was investigated. While he doesn’t know the outcome of that investigation, Kelly said, the man is still a police captain.

The biggest difference, Kelly said, between other paid administrative leave situations and his own is that the city did not issue press releases when putting other officers on paid leave.

“I was kind of blindsided,” Kelly said. “I’ve had three minor reprimands (in my career) and hundreds of letters of commendation and appreciation.”

The worst part, he said, is the unnamed allegation has put him and his family “under a microscope” without the chance to defend himself publicly since he cannot defend himself against an allegation that is kept a secret even from him.

Kuhlmann said, due to conflict of interest concerns, the city is reaching out to other third parties — other law enforcement agencies and law firms — to conduct the investigation.

“We’re trying to get this done as soon as possible,” she said. The city hopes to complete its investigation before the election so the investigation and cloud of suspicion around Kelly are not an issue.

“We wouldn’t do this to Marty,” Kuhlmann said.

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