That's not the worst of it. McManus was ticketed for a bumpy ride with the police union by the time he arrived; the fallout in his relationship with the City Council could be far more damaging. Owing to the vagaries of Minneapolis's "weak mayor" system, McManus's patron and ally Rybak has limited power to shield his chief from the wrath of the City Council if its members turn on him.
Wittingly or not, McManus has wagered a great deal on the outcome of this case: his credibility with cops and city officials; his political viability in his job--and to a considerable extent, Rybak's; and more broadly, the long-range cause of reforming and opening up the Minneapolis Police Department. Those who say that the case will make or break McManus's tenure as chief may be speaking precipitously, but it does not necessarily mean they're wrong. There are many at City Hall who did not really believe the MPD was in need of serious reform in the first place. If McManus's first dustup with the status quo bears no tangible fruit, their hand will only be strengthened.
Local activist and critic Ron Edwards, who supported McManus's selection, believes the new chief is too savvy at both police work and politics to make such a play without good cause. But if nothing comes of the BCA investigation, Edwards cautions, the situation "becomes an instrument for those who don't want to change anything. It becomes an exit for those who want to resist reform. And in that case, this chief could have one of the shortest tenures ever."