Former Fargo deputy chief likely won't face criminal charges connected to riot

Former Fargo Police Deputy Chief Todd _Ozzy_ Osmundson during interview following May 30 protest and riot.jpg
Former Fargo Police Deputy Chief Todd "Ozzy" Osmundson during interview following May 30 protest and riot. C.S. Hagen / The Forum

FARGO — A former Fargo police officer likely won’t face criminal charges connected to his unauthorized undercover work during a protest last month.

In a statement provided to media, Chief David Todd said ex-Deputy Chief Todd Osmundson’s actions during the May 30 protests in downtown Fargo “do not warrant further criminal investigation, because of the fact others engaging in similar conduct in plain view on May 30 were also not investigated.”

Todd was referring to questions about whether the Fargo Police Department had forwarded any investigatory material to city prosecutors or the Cass County State’s Attorney’s Office after Osmundson admitted to drinking a beer downtown during the protest and shouting obscenities at police, according to an internal investigation .

"While ... Osmundson may not have verbally or physically threatened the officers, he engaged in conduct which aided in threats towards officer(s)," the internal investigation said. "This was done by yelling 'F*** the police.'"



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Osmundson was suspended on June 4 for a week without pay after news broke that he had gone undercover during the protests without permission. He resigned the same day.

Some in the police department questioned whether it put officers in jeopardy, while advocates for the protesters called for Osmundson to be prosecuted.

More than a dozen protesters face charges in connection to the demonstration that later turned violent. Charges have ranged from preventing arrest to inciting rioters.

Any criminal investigation against police officers would go to the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, if warranted, Todd said in the statement.

“No citations were issued, no arrests were made and no referrals for charge-out were made for any such violations,” Todd said of others who acted in ways similar to Osmundson. “Thus, unless there is further information developed, this will continue to stay in the category of an employment issue that has been addressed, and there will be no further review for possible charges against Todd Osmundson from the events on May 30, 2020.”

The Forum asked several follow-up questions, including whether the police chief could make a decision about further criminal investigation into Osmundson without facing a conflict of interest.

Fargo Police spokeswoman Jessica Schindeldecker said Todd would not make any further statements on the matter.

April Baumgarten joined The Forum in February 2019 as an investigative reporter. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, N.D., where her family raises Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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