By Michael K. Browne, Assistant Director – Office of Police Conduct Review
Today, the Minneapolis City Council approved an ordinance change that restructured the Civilian Police Review Authority of the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights and the Internal Affairs Unit of the Minneapolis Police Department. The change establishes the Office of Police Conduct Review, comprised of both civilian and sworn investigators, and a hearing panel comprised of both citizens and sworn officers. Also established was the Police Conduct Oversight Commission, a seven member citizen engagement board.
Before voting on the ordinance change, the Council voted to accept two amendments to the ordinance change. First, the Council unanimously voted to retain the language that creates a “firewall” which protects information provided to the Office of Police Conduct Review. Second, the Council voted to adopt an amendment to allow citizens to express a preference for a civilian or sworn investigator in the handling of their complaints. The authority to delegate to civilian or sworn investigators will remain with the heads of the new work group. A third proposed amendment did not pass.
After the debate on the proposed amendments to the ordinance, the Council voted on its implementation. The ordinance change passed with eight ayes and five nays: supporting votes came from Council Members Don Samuels, Diane Hofstede, Meg Tuthill, John Quincy, Kevin Reich, Lisa Goodman, Sandy Colvin Roy, and Council President Barb Johnson; and opposing votes from Council Members Cam Gordon, Betsy Hodges, Elizabeth Glidden, Gary Schiff and Council Vice-President Robert Lilligren.