PCOC Meeting in a Snapshot: January Edition

Deputy Chief Arradondo speaks to the Commission.

Deputy Chief Arradondo speaks to the Commission.

The Police Conduct Oversight Commission held its monthly meeting on January 10, 2016. Highlights included welcoming two new Commissioners; passage of a motion to conduct a Domestic Response Research and Study; updates on the new MPD dashboard for collecting demographic data; details on work with the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice; and the forwarding of multiple projects inspired by the Peace Forum to the Audit Committee for potential Study development.

The meeting began by welcoming two new commissioners, Jeffrey Wade and Luke Davis, to the PCOC. Both bring experience and insight that is sure to serve the Commission well. Following this introduction, the OPCR’s Law Enforcement Analyst Ryan Patrick and Policy Analyst Kaela McConnon Diarra, presented a methodology to the Commission for a Research and Study on MPD Domestic Response. The methodology lists Study goals to include: identifying current policy and practice used by the Minneapolis Police Department to respond to domestic police calls; comparing MPD domestic response policy and practice to other jurisdictions; and identifying any areas for improvement in the current policy and practice. The Commission asked questions of the presenters and then passed a motion referring the methodology back to the Audit Committee, to oversee the execution of that methodology into a full Research and Study. See the Prezi from the presentation here. See the methodology here.

Next, Deputy Chief Arradondo addressed the Commission and provided updates on the MPD’s new dashboard for collecting demographic data. The dashboard was created in response to a Research and Study completed by the Commission on Investigatory Stops, which arose concern regarding the lack of demographic information collected for such stops. D.C. Arradondo informed the Commission that the new dashboard is now in use, requiring officers to input demographic information, including race and gender, whenever making an investigatory stop, as well as taking other police action such as traffic stops and truancy stops. Officers must now enter such information to “clear” such a call and move on to another.

The Deputy Chief also provided the Commission with an update on the work the MPD is doing with the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice. Recent work includes procedural justice training and implicit bias training. At the end of 2016, every officer on force received implicit bias training. He also told the Commission about training being provided in the community, in order for the public to learn what exactly officers are learning. He hopes members of the Commission will be able to participate in such a training sometime soon.

Committee reports were then made, the most extensive of which, was one from the Outreach Committee. The Outreach Committee focused, in their recent Committee meeting, on the Peace Forum that the Commission participated in this past November, and the recommendations from the community that came out of it. The Commission passed motions to move three such recommendations to the Audit Committee, to potentially create methodologies to look into them further. The topics included: psychological testing for officers prior to joining the force; implicit bias testing; and smart guns.

Commissioners then reviewed case summaries from December case synopses, cases 1, 6, and 8. They then chose cases from the January Synopses to be converted to summaries for next month, cases 3, 7 and 9.

The meeting then adjourned, with the next monthly meeting scheduled for February 14, 2017.

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PCOC Meeting Snapshot: December Edition

00001The Police Conduct Oversight Commission held its monthly meeting on December 13, 2016. Highlights included the Commission passing a motion to begin a research and study regarding domestic violence cases; an announcement that funding for the mental health co-responder program has been approved; and the Commission passage of metrics devised by the Policy and Procedure Committee for the Chief’s Performance Review.

The meeting opened up with public comment and the approval of the last meeting minutes. Following this, Vice Chair Singleton motioned to direct the Audit Committee to devise a methodology for a research and study of domestic violence cases. Citing at length a case summary from October, which was moved to the Policy and Procedure Committee for greater inspection, Vice Chair Singleton commented that the case had opened up questions regarding the Minneapolis Police Department’s handling of such domestic violence cases. After some discussion, the motion passed.

Next, Vice Chair Singleton provided an update on the Co-responder Pilot Program to the Commission. Namely, Vice Chair Singleton informed the Commission that funding for the program had been approved by Minneapolis City Council. Vice-chair Singleton noted that three officers and two mental health professionals were a part of the approved funding. Further, Vice-chair Singleton stated that she continues to meet regularly with stakeholders—such as representatives of the MPD and Hennepin County—regarding the framework for the program, and that the group will soon create a white paper establishing that framework.

After this, Commissioner Foroozan motioned for the Commission to adopt the Chief’s Performance Review –- a series of self-described “neutral metrics”, gauging the police chief’s performance that will be conducted every 18 months. The seven metrics are as follows: 1) implementation of PCOC research and study recommendations; 2) interaction with Police Conduct Review Panel recommendations; 3) outreach and engagement to local and diverse communities; 4) law enforcement strategies taken to address crime; 5) training allocations based on issues identified by the Commission and MPD; 6) distribution of complaints amongst officers; and 7) conversion of arrests to convictions. After some discussion, the motion passed.

Also, Commissioners Cerillo and Westphal gave their opinions regarding the Peace Forum they attended, which took place on November 29th, 2016. Both commissioners commented that the Forum did not meet their expectations. In relation to the Forum, Commissioner Westphal stated that she gave it “3 out of 5 stars,” and Commissioner Cerillo commented that it was, “not successful…something got lost in translation.”

Lastly, Commissioners discussed cases 3, 8 and 10. Case 8 and 10 were moved to the Policy and Procedure Committee for tracking regarding language/attitude and de-escalation respectively. The Commission decided that cases 1, 6 and 8 from the December Case Synopses should be converted to case summaries for the next meeting.  The Commission then adjourned, with the next meeting scheduled for January 9, 2017.

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PCOC Meeting Snapshot: November Edition

dsc_0149The PCOC held its monthly meeting on November 16, 2016. Highlights included opening comments from the Vice Chair, a presentation on a possible protest monitoring project, updates to the online police misconduct portal, Committee updates and case review.

The meeting began with comments from Commission Vice Chair Jennifer Singleton, who noted that is was that one-year anniversary of the shooting death of Jamar Clark. She discussed the importance of this to the Minneapolis community, as well some of the positive changes made in Minneapolis policing since that tragic event. Vice Chair Singleton voiced concern regarding the fact that the administrative review of the Jamar Clark case did not go through the civilian review process at the Office of Police Conduct Review and was instead handled entirely by the police department. She informed the Commission that a new protocol has been established to ensure that future events, specifically “critical incidents”, will always go through the OPCR, allowing for civilian investigation as a part of the process.

Next, OPCR Law Enforcement Analyst Ryan Patrick presented a brief proposal to the Commission on developing a protest monitoring group. Both he and Commission Chair Brown heard about such a group used in Washington D.C. at a presentation at the recent NACOLE conference. The Commission passed a motion to move the project to the Audit Committee to develop a methodology.

Ryan Patrick also updated the Commission on changes made to the online portal for police misconduct data. Since last month, the portal has been updated to include data on open cases, information on complainant preferences for a sworn or civilian investigator, review panel data going back to first panel decision, and disciplinary action broken down by quarter. Mr. Patrick also told Commissioners that the portal has already been accessed more than 4,000 times.

Committee reports followed this update. The Policy and Procedure Committee continues to work on the co-responder pilot program with the MPD and to develop a framework for the Chief’s performance review. Read the Chair Report here. The Outreach Committee continues to work on a Peace Forum and the details of that event have been further solidified. The Commission passed a motion to conduct the Forum on November 29 at the Hook and Ladder Theater from 6:00-8:30pm. Participants in the forum will include members of the PCOC, MPD administration, and community leaders and activists. The goal of the event is to facilitate conversation between police and the community. Vice Chair Jennifer Singleton will represent the Commission at the event.

Commissioners then discussed case summaries 02, 06, and 09 and chose cases to be converted to summaries for the next commission meeting from the November Case Synopses. The cases are: 3, 8 and 10. The Commission then adjourned, with the next monthly meeting scheduled for December 13, 2016.

 

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Hate-motivated speech and actions have no place in Minneapolis

A Message to the Minneapolis Community

By Velma Korbel, Director                                                                                                           Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights

Since the general election, many of us have experienced, witnessed firsthand or heard of actions of: racism, xenophobia, sexism and bigotry directed at people here and in cities across the United States. In no uncertain terms, hate-motivated speech and actions have no place in Minneapolis nor will they be tolerated.  Activities such as these are against the law. No one is above the law.

Minneapolis is committed to human rights and racial equity for anyone who lives, works, and visits our city. We want everyone to feel safe and welcome here. This department echoes Minneapolis mayor, Betsy Hodges’ resolve and commitment when she stated: “I will not compromise the public safety of the people of Minneapolis to satisfy Trump’s desire to put politics before public safety. Minneapolis is being built and strengthened by people from all over the world and I am grateful for their commitment to our city. I stand with them today and will continue to take that stand as the President-elect prepares to take office.”

The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights upholds and enforces the city’s anti-discrimination and anti-harassment laws. We also investigate allegations of police misconduct. We are an important resource. If you, your family or someone you know experiences harassment or discrimination based on their race, religion, national origin, sex, LGBT status or other protected classes,  or have been the victim of police misconduct, please contact us at (612) 673-3012 or visit www.minneapolismn.gov/civilrights/.

korbel

 

 

 

 

 

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Civil Rights volunteers celebrate dedication and commitment; making a major impact on community.

commission-allOn Monday October 24, 2016 volunteers from across the Metropolitan area came together at City hall to celebrate the many efforts advancing civil rights in Minneapolis.  Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights Executive Director, Velma Korbel, hosted the first Annual Civil Rights Partners Appreciation Celebration as a way to acknowledge the commitment and volunteerism of  community partners.  

The work and continuous efforts of so many volunteers helps the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights achieve its mission to promote and protect equal justice, equal access and equal opportunity for the people of Minneapolis. Civil Rights celebrants are members of three primary groups: the Minneapolis Commission on Civil Rights, the Police Conduct Oversight Commission, and the MDCR Ambassadors.  Each group contributes greatly the success and reach of the Department.

commission-storyThe Minneapolis Commission on Civil Right (MCCR) promotes and protects the civil rights of Minneapolis residents and workers. It does so by implementing the City’s civil rights ordinance in an advisory capacity to the enterprise through research and study, community education, and outreach and forums.  This year alone, the MCCR participated in 70 plus hours of community outreach. During the summer, commissioners took to the street to inform community members of their rights at various events, including Cinco de Mayo, Twin Cities Pride, Minnesota Juneteenth Festival, Minneapolis Urban League Family Day, and many others.  

The MCCR also used its influence to impact broader civil rights issues. Earlier this year the commission drafted and passed a resolution opposing the Minnesota legislature’s codification of binary-based (male of female only) definitions of biological sex, particularly as it related the Minnesota Human Rights Act. Along with engaging community through outreach, the MCCR has an additional function of enforcement of the Minneapolis Code of Ordinances through their adjudicative power to hear case appeals or decide contested discrimination cases.

 

star-trib-articleThe Police Oversight Commission (PCOC) assures that police services are delivered in a lawful and nondiscriminatory manner by shaping police policy, auditing police misconduct cases, engaging the community in discussions of police procedure, and facilitating cultural awareness training for the Minneapolis Police Department. Earlier this year, the PCOC completed a research and study on officer interactions with persons with mental health related issues. That study included a recommendation that the Minneapolis Police Department implement a co-responder pilot program, where a mental health professional would respond with a police officer to calls where mental health issues arise. Since the release of that report and recommendation, the Mayor, in her budget address, proposed funding for three police officers and $200,000 to implement a co-responder pilot program.

More recently, the PCOC directed a study addressing concerns regarding complaint filing. Civil Rights staff members participated as testers and attempted to file complaints at all five precincts in Minneapolis.  The study revealed a variety of challenges for citizens trying to file police misconduct complaints. Since the release of that study, improved complaint filing protocols are being developed in a collaborative effort between the Office of Police Conduct Review, Internal Affairs, and MPD Quality Assurance.  Improvements already being implemented include development of a complaint card to give citizens more information on how to file a complaint, clarification in language on the complaint form, website improvements and an updated complaint filing manual. As a result of this work, the Office of Police Conduct Review was given funding by the Mayor to improve the complaint filing experience and will be exploring ways to use the make the process more accessible for complainants. 

ambassador-programMDCR Ambassadors act as liaisons between their communities and the department. Ambassadors not only educate and inform community members of their rights and opportunities through the department, they also educate the department about community concerns. They help build and improve public trust and transparent lines of communication for all involved. For example, MDCR ambassador Ousman Camara, owner of K’s Dollar and Grocery -a corner store and deli located in North Minneapolis, leverages his connections with loyal customers to raise awareness and help eliminate discrimination. Osuman says, “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.”

Join the group, become a volunteer today. 

Volunteering time with the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights as a member of a commission or ambassador offers an excellent opportunity to become actively involved in City government and help shape your community. The Department of Civil Rights encourages residents to share their talents and perspectives. If you are interested in applying to a commission or becoming an ambassador please email Faith Jackson @ faith.jackson@minneapolismn.gov.

 

 

 

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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.

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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?

ambassador-program

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.

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