On Saturday, May 14, 2016, the PCOC held a public forum regarding the current MPD Draft Policy for the implementation of body cameras. Forum attendees included community partners, City Council members, and members of public. The discussion that ensued was enlightening and productive.
All attendees were provided with a copy of the current MPD Draft Policy on body cameras, along with the PCOC’s statement regarding that draft policy, and the recommended policy released by the PCOC last September. The Forum began with introductions of the PCOC’s commissioners and an overview of the Commission’s mission and purpose. Then Commissioner Singleton began a discussion of the concerns the PCOC has with the current draft policy and the key differences between that policy and the one originally recommended by the PCOC. She highlighted concerns and differences regarding the issues of: consent to film; policy compliance; accountability; viewing videos before writing reports; policy revisions; and discipline. The presentation included a direct comparison of the MPD Draft Policy with the PCOC recommended policy in each of these areas. To view the presentation powerpoint, see Body Cam Forum Presentation.
Following the presentation, representatives from various community partners spoke including: Jana Kooren from the ACLU; Mariam Mokri from the Commission on Civil Rights; Nekima Levy-Pounds from the NAACP; and Michelle Gross from Communities United Against Police Brutality. Many of the community partners’ comments were positive as to the PCOC’s recommended policy. Partners also agreed with many of the Commission’s concerns, and offered additional thoughts and ideas surrounding body camera policy.
Attendees left the event with a greater understanding of each other’s position on the implementation of body cameras and with a plan to move forward. This plan includes contacting local legislators and Governor Dayton regarding proposed body camera legislation in the Minnesota Legislature, continuing to raise awareness and discussing and advocating this very important issue.