PCOC Meeting Snapshot: October Edition

One of the many dashboards available for public use on the OPCR website

One of the many dashboards available for public use on the OPCR website

The PCOC held its monthly meeting on October 11, 2016. Highlights included a presentation of the OPCR’s new data portal, Committee updates, the Chair’s update from the NACOLE conference and case review.

The meeting began with a presentation from OPCR Director Imani Jafaar and Law Enforcement Analyst Ryan Patrick on the OPCR’s exciting new data portal, providing public access to data on police misconduct, which was unveiled earlier in the day at a news conference. The portal provides two new tools that are posted on the OPCR website and available for public use. The first provides data in seven dashboards, including an interactive map of allegations of police misconduct, demographic information linked to allegations, case processing decisions made by the joint supervisors and disciplinary outcomes. See the tool here. The second tool is a system to search for officer complaint histories. See that tool here. Commissioners showed great enthusiasm for the new tools and are excited to use them in their continued MPD policy work.

This presentation was followed by Committee reports. The first of those reports came from the Outreach Committee, where a community member, Jacque Erickson,  spoke about Peace Forum planning. The presentation was followed by discussion among Commissioners as to how and to what degree the Commission would participate in that forum. Policy and Procedure Chair Singleton, shared with other Commissioners updates on the co-responder pilot project planning, as well as the development of the Chief of Police performance review methodology, to be presented to the full Commission at the next monthly meeting. See the Policy and Procedure Committee Chair Report here. Audit Committee Chair Buss discussed the Audit Committee’s last meeting, where they discussed the data portal presented at this monthly meeting.

Commissioners then discussed cases selected and converted to summaries from the September meeting, cases 05, 08 and 10. They then selected new cases from the October Case Synopses. Cases selected are 2, 6 and 9.

The meeting then adjourned, with the next monthly meeting planned for November 15, as November 8 is election day.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Local business owner leverages community connections to raise awareness and help eliminate discrimination

K GROCERY.jpegOusman Camara is no stranger to the North Minneapolis Community. In fact he’s a familiar face with a well respected reputation.  Ousman is the owner of K’s Dollar and Grocery, a corner store and deli located in North Minneapolis for over ten years. I recently sat down with Ousman at his North Minneapolis store to discuss his participation in the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights  Ambassadors Program.

About Osuman

Ousman is the owner of K’s Dollar and Grocery, a corner store and deli in North Minneapolis. He is an active partner with the Minneapolis Health Department’s Healthy Corner Store Program and Healthy Restaurant Initiative, and is committed to transforming his business into a trusted, locally owned neighborhood outlet for nutritious, affordable food options.  Ousman is cognizant of his store’s inventory and works to increase healthy food options such as fresh fruits and locally grown vegetables.  

Why did you become a Civil Rights Ambassador?

I spend at lot of time conversing  with members of the community. Unfortunately, often times they tell me stories through  which I recognize they are victims of unlawful discrimination. Before, I was vaguely familiar with the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights, so I would tell people to just reach out to their city council member or the attorney general when they were wronged. I didn’t know there was an organization right here in Minneapolis which was solely committed to investigating complaints of discrimination. Some time ago I met some representatives from the Civil Rights Department at an outreach event. They told me about the Department’s services and its various divisions.  After that, anytime someone came to me with a story hinting of discrimination, I began referring them to the Department of Civil Rights.  Over time, I decided to make it official and become a part of the MDCR Ambassador Program. I received training, and I now feel confident in my ability to speak to the services provided by the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights and encourage community members to utilize their resources. 

In youR capacity as an ambassador, how do you advance or promote the work of the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights?


I raise awareness about the many different areas of civil rights protections included in the  City’s Civil Rights Ordinance.   Most people think that the Civil Rights Department only manages complaints of race discrimination.  A lot of times, I hear stories of housing discrimination and employment discrimination based on religion. People will say to me, “Well I don’t think  it about race, its more about my faith, so I don’t think the Civil Rights staff can help.” Even in 2016, it’s still a major misconception. 

I  also talk to fellow minority small business owners about the benefits of being certified to do business with the City. 

As an ambassador I proudly display the MDCR brochures on  my store counter. I encourage all customers to learn about the resources available, if not for themselves, for someone else. Sometimes people ask me questions that I can’t answer and I tell them to call the Department directly for the best answer. 

The Minneapolis Civil Rights Ordinance specifies that it is illegal to discriminate based on  race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age, marital status, and status with regard to public assistance. As a MDCR ambassador,  what inspires you to promote the message of common humanity  and educate your community of their civil rights protections?

All people are just that- people. It’s a simple fact, but an important one to remember.   We may not look the same, act the same, or worship the same- but we are all human. That common denominator should be enough for us to live together in harmony and treat all people with respect. 

Join Ousman,  become a MDCR Ambassador Today!

MDCR ambassadors are community liaisons, and play a critical role in ensuring the voice of the community is heard. The MDCR Ambassador Program focuses on educating and informing the community of its rights to file complaints of discrimination or police misconduct, become certified minority and women owned businesses and to otherwise engage with the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights.

Current employees of Nonprofit or For-Profit Community Organizations in Minneapolis that support principles of equal opportunity, non-discrimination and the objectives of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Ordinance are encouraged to  apply.  To learn more about the Ambassador Program, fill out the contact form below.


For reasonable accommodations or alternative formats please contact the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights at 612-673-2697. People who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to call 311 at 612-673-3000. TTY users call 612-673-2157 or 612-673-2626.   Para asistencia 612-673-2700 – Rau kev pab 612-673-2800 – Hadii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay 612-673-3500.

Posted in Civil Rights Department, Employment Equity, Outreach and Engagement, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Office of Police Conduct Review Provides New Data Portal Allowing for Public Access to Police Misconduct Data

Office of Police Conduct Review Provides New Data Portal Allowing for Public Access to Police Misconduct Data


On October 11th  two new tools went live on the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights website and both are fully accessible to the public. The first of those tools allows anyone to review public data, maintained by the Office of Police Conduct Review (OPCR) on police misconduct and investigation. It contains data from 2013 to the present and updates every two weeks. The data is displayed in seven dashboards, including an interactive map of allegations of police misconduct, demographic information linked to allegations, case processing decisions made by the joint supervisors and disciplinary outcomes. All this data is interactive, allowing a user to drill down to more specific data based on any available data point. For instance, a user could look at complaints by precinct, or map a specific type of allegation.
View the  tool here: www.minneapolismn.gov/civilrights/policereview/archive/index.htm.

The second tool is a system to search for officer complaint histories. Such histories are the most frequent requests received by the Office of Police Conduct Review.  Now, using the tool, anyone may look up any officer and locate records from OPCR, MPD’s Internal Affairs Unit, and the former Civilian Review Authority. The tool provides as much information about the complaint history of an officer as is allowed under the Minnesota Data Practices Act. Such information includes the listing of every complainant, whether the case is opened or closed, whether there was final discipline, and the discipline imposed. View the tool here: www.minneapolismn.gov/civilrights/policereview/cra_links-contacts.

The creation of these tools marks the first time ever that such information has been made available to the public, on demand. With the release of the tool, Mayor Betsy Hodges stated the City is “leading the way nationally in such transparency” Council Member Cam Gordon offered the tool “will help build and enhance accountability, transparency and trust in our communities.”  The Office of Police Conduct Review is happy to be contributing to these goals that are such a vital part of the mission and work of  Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights.

The release of this Data Portal, has already garnered much media attention, with stories including:

We would like to thank its partners, the data scientists in the City’s Information Technology Department and the Minneapolis Police Department. We encourage  all to interact with these newly released tools.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Sick and Safe Time Ordinance provides support for victims of domestic violence and their family members


New Sick and Safe Time Ordinance takes effect on July 1, 2017- Provides support and protection for victims of domestic violence and their family members.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This month of recognition evolved from the “Day of Unity” held in October 1981 and conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The intent was to connect advocates across the nations who were working to end violence against women and their children. In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed. In 1989, the U.S. Congress passed Public Law 101-112 designating October of that year as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Such legislation has passed every year since and each year, the Day of Unity is celebrated the first Monday of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

This month is an important reminder for people across the country to focus on preventing and ending domestic violence in their communities. According to the National Resource on Domestic Violence:

  • 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men over the age of 18 in the U.S. will be affected by domestic violence in their lifetime. 
  • 1 in 3 teens has experienced some form of abuse in a dating relationship, and nearly half of college women report experiencing a violent or abusive dating relationship. 
  • Domestic violence and dating abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, age, race, sexual orientation or religion.

On May 31, 2016, Mayor Betsy Hodges signed the Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time Ordinance and Minneapolis became the first city in Minnesota to require that certain employers provide paid sick leave to covered employees.  Under this Ordinance, starting July 1, 2017, employers must allow employees to accrue up to 48 hours of sick and safe time each year. Employers with six or more employees must provide paid sick and safe time, while smaller employers must at least provide unpaid leave. Employees may use sick and safe time for their own health and certain family members.  

The Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time Ordinance is a major step forward on providing support for victims of domestic violence.  The Ordinance assists victims of domestic violence and their family members by providing them with job protected paid time away from work to allow them to receive treatment and services, and to take the necessary steps to ensure their protection. Research demonstrates victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking with no paid sick leave are less able to receive medical treatment, participate in legal proceedings and obtain other necessary services. In addition, without paid sick leave, domestic violence victims are less able to maintain the financial independence necessary to leave abusive situations, achieve safety, and minimize physical and emotional injuries. The Ordinance provisions take effect on July 1, 2017. 

While the existence of domestic abuse is never desired, it is reassuring to know that new legislation provides support for victims as they recover. This  month, and throughout the year, it’s important for all of us to get involved, raise awareness and speak out in support of victims and survivors. Chances are, even if you have not experienced abuse in your own relationships, someone you know has.


Helpful Resources

Learn More about the Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time Ordinance

View the Presidential Proclamation — National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, 2016

Visit the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence Website

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Police Conduct Oversight Commission in the Press!


Both the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Minnesota Public Radio are talking about the work of the PCOC. On Wednesday, the Star Tribune published a story about revamping the process by which citizens can file complaints against Minneapolis Police Officers. This revamp is in response to the PCOC Complaint Filing Experience Research and Study published last month. Great improvements to the complaint filing process include training for officers on how complaint filing should be handled, and the creation of “compliant cards” that will help citizens filing complaints understand more about the complaint filing system and provide them contact information for support through the process.

Read the Star Tribune article Minneapolis Police to Revamp Citizen Complaint ProcessRead the PCOC’s report Complaint Filing Experience.

Minnesota Public Radio reported yesterday that Minneapolis police officers will begin recording the race and gender of all individuals involved in traffic stops, suspicious person stops, suspicious vehicle stops, truancy, curfew and attempted arrest calls. In addition to race and gender, officers will also now be required to document things like whether an individual was searched. All of this information must be tracked whether or not the individual is arrested following the stop and possible search. This is in response to a report by the PCOC on Investigatory Stop Documentation, released in April 2015, showing severe deficiencies in documentation especially related to investigative stops. The PCOC has worked with the MPD since the report’s release to develop this newly implemented system.

Listen to the MPR story Minneapolis Police Will Track Race, Gender at Traffic Stops. Read the PCOC’s Investigatory Stop Documentation Review.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

PCOC Meeting Snapshot: September Edition

OPCR Director Imani Jaafar and IA Commander Jason Case present updates on Complaint filing to the Commission.

OPCR Director Imani Jaafar and MPD Internal Affairs Commander Jason Case present updates on Complaint filing to the Commission.

The PCOC held its monthly meeting on August 09, 2016. Highlights included an update on improvements made following the Compliant Filing Experience Study, Committee updates and case review.

The meeting began with a presentation from OPCR Director Imani Jaafar and Internal Affairs Commander Jason Case. The two discussed the many steps taken by both the OPCR and the MPD following the Compliant Filing Experience Study, which showed a variety of challenges for citizens trying to file complaints against police officers. See the Study here. Improvements already accomplished include a complaint card, complaint form clarification, OPCR website improvements and an updated complaint manual that is consistent across OPCR and Internal Affairs use.

Improvements still in process include revisions of procedures, a complaint notification form, MPD website updates, revisions to MPD Policy and Procedure Manual Policy 2-103 governing complaint filing, the establishment of an off-site office where OPCR and Internal Affairs staff could take complaints and conduct interviews and training for MPD staff on all of these improvements. See the presentation here.

The Commissioners expressed their support for these improvements and discussed their interest in a lock box at precincts to collect complaints. More updates on improvements will take place at future PCOC meetings.

This presentation was followed by Committee Reports. Outreach Committee member Adriana Cerrillo discussed her many meeting over the last month with City Council representatives and state legislators, in addition to the Committee’s continued work on a Peace Forum tentatively planned for November. See the Chair Report here. The Policy and Procedure Committee did not have a meeting this past month but Committee Chair Jennifer Singleton reported her continued work with the MPD to create a co-responder pilot program, which would pair a mental health professional with a MPD officer to respond to mental health related police calls. This is a project that was recommended as a part of the Commission’s Mental Health study released in May. See that report here.  The Audit Committee worked this month on identifying data points to collect for analysis including body camera use, suspicious person stops, Emotionally Distributed Person calls, complaint filing and use of force. Commissioner Singleton also shared that she will be presenting the results of the Complaint Filing Experience to the City Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights & Emergency Management Committee on September 28th.

The meeting then moved to case review where Commissioners discussed case summaries 3, 5 and 7, chosen from last month’s case synopses. Commissioners also chose new cases to be converted to summaries from the September Synopses, which are cases 5, 8 and 10.

The meeting adjourned, with the next monthly PCOC meeting scheduled for October 11, 2016.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“I Am From” A Tribute to Humanity by Urban Scholar SeAnna Johnson



2016 Minneapolis Urban Scholars Cohort 

If you were not able to attend the Urban Scholars Recognition Ceremony last week, you missed a treat. It was a celebration of everything good about the program. I so enjoyed the spoken word offerings from the Scholars, that I want to share one of them.

I’d like you to bask in the words of Urban Scholar SeAnna Johnson. SeAnna recited this poem at the Urban Scholar recognition ceremony, and has graciously allowed me to share it with others.

Seanna introduces her poem this way:

This piece is written to remind the world that where we are from is far beyond the physical location of where we are born….

“I Am From”
By SeAnna Rochelle Johnson
I am from Eden, the beautiful land of would-be paradise, where life was first breathed into me and the dust was divine.
I am from Jerusalem of Israel, having bore witness to a ransomer’s deed that can never fade or tarnish, and we drifted west in our forgiveness.
I am from Candace, Amina, Nzingha, Makeda, and Yaa Asantewa; the infinite queen within traced all the way back to the fortress of Elmina where the foot prints last remained sacred.
I am from late nights and early mornings of struggle & strife, blood, sweat, and tears; oh but how I got over, walking, talking, & marching up to freedom land.
I am from afros and pressing combs, ruffle socks and derby hats on Easter Sundays.
I am from “Yes ma’am, no ma’am”, “Yes sir, no sir”.
I am from Blues City; The Birthplace of Rock n’ Roll that rang a Southern Belle and the soundwaves generated one cold, melodious Minnesota Maiden; from the frozen tundra in January to a hot greasy griddle in the middle of July.
I am from First Ave Minneapolis, where it Purple Rains from Graffiti Bridge to Lake Minnetonka, the Beautiful Experience where everyone has lived the Glamorous Life and fallen victim to a Jungle Love at least once. The city where If You Love Me, you’d quit Breakin’ My Heart with those Pretty Brown Eyes, but if you know what’s best, you also wouldn’t dance Too Close.
I am from the new millennium’s end: Y2K, 2012, and Harold Camping’s “rapture”, and like Destiny’s Child, I’m a survivor.
I am from the world of all battles: Backstreet Boys vs. N’Sync, Lil Bow Wow vs. Lil Romeo, The Rock vs. Stone Cold, Dirty Dan vs Pinhead Larry, Edward vs. Jacob, and Kanye vs….Everybody.
I am from cartoon-cartoons, skippin’ & boppin’ it on a Saturday afternoon, and neighborhood tag by evening.
And when it comes time for rest, I am from cold iced tea, sugar sweet grits, sausage and gravy, and hot water cornbread at the dawn of the Gospel.
I am from Grandma’s downhome Sunday Dinner and pre-grub prayer, where Mahalia reminded us of the King on Calvary, and the food even tasted blessed.
I am from the Mighty Clouds of Joy and the Blind Boys of Alabama, wading through the storm in Amazing Grace.
I am from the everloving sprinkles on what could simply be a scoop of struggle; but like the Sounds of Blackness I’m optimistic, that regardless of the beginning there’s a happy ending.

Have a good weekend everyone,

Velma Korbel, Director Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment