Leak about officer going undercover in riot was 'inexcusable and sickening,' Fargo chief says

Former Fargo Police Deputy Chief Todd Osmundson with protesters at police headquarters on 25th Street during May 30 protest. C.S. Hagen / The Forum

FARGO — "Inexcusable and sickening" — that's how Chief David Todd described a leak of information from within his department regarding a former deputy chief's unauthorized undercover work.

In a Wednesday, June 3, email to Fargo Police Department staff, Todd said one of his employees told a Forum News Service columnist that former Deputy Chief Todd Osmudson went undercover during rioting last week without permission .

The columnist, Rob Port, later obtained the email from Todd to his staff that described how Osmundson would face a work performance complaint. In that email, Todd criticized how Port found out about the situation.

"First, it's pretty sad someone from our agency made the media aware of (Osmundson’s) email when we are in a state of emergency and about to be under siege again," Todd wrote. "Whoever did that handed the other side some ammunition to use against us as a department -- i.e. our brother and sister officers. That's inexcusable and sickening.”

The next day, Osmundson was suspended for a week without pay amid reports he did not inform other officers that he planned to go into the downtown crowds in plainclothes on Saturday, May 30.


Later on Thursday, June 4, Osmundson resigned. That came after Port had written about an internal email, detailing concerns about Osmundson’s actions, including that he held a beer can during the downtown rioting and said the words “f--- the police."

Mayor Tim Mahoney said Todd and the city did not ask Osmundson to resign, but it was brought up as a disciplinary option. Suggestions that Todd was going to give Osmundson a lighter punishment are not true, Mahoney said.

Todd declined an interview with The Forum Friday, June 5. But in a video posted later Friday to the department's Facebook page, Todd said his agency was trying to do the “right thing for the right reasons.”

He noted he probably let his emotions get the best of him in the email to staff because he was disgusted with the leak.

“This is a delicate time for the city of Fargo, where we’re working with organizers and try to work with them to come together to have a successful event in unity, and I didn’t want anything to upend that,” Todd said.

Chief Todd Email by Rob Port on Scribd


Chief David Todd talks to protesters on Saturday, May 30, outside Fargo police headquarters. C.S. Hagen / The Forum

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.
What To Read Next
Get Local