Those with complaints about police misconduct in Minneapolis would have their choice of investigative options, under a new plan offered on the eve of Wednesday’s public hearing.
The proposal would let complainants choose between having their charges investigated by the police themselves or by civilian investigators.
This approach represents a major change from the plan introduced earlier this summer that would eliminate the option. The main criticism of that plan was the perceived problem of police essentially investigating police.
“It is a report newly made public,” said City Council Member Don Samuels who chairs the Public Safety, Health and Civil Rights Committee, which is conducting the 1:30 p.m. hearing.
Samuels said new the plan to restructure the investigation of police misconduct came from input at three public hearings conducted by the city’s Civil Right Department.
“It was put together just days ago,” he said, adding that the new suggestions from the Civilian Police Review Authority Board will be considered at the public hearing.
Eliminated from the options before council members is a plan that would have routed complaints to the Office of Police Conduct Review, which would be made up of civilian investigators from the Civil Rights Department and sworn police officers in the Internal Affairs Unit. The office then would have assigned the case for investigation, with the complainant having no say over who conducted the investigation.
Under the new plan, all external complaints would be filed with the assistant director of the Civil Rights Department, who then would assign the cases for investigation by police or civilians as specified by the complainant.
The new plan would require the addition of more civilian investigators to the department’s current staff of two.The police department’s Internal Affairs Unit has six investigators.
Currently, the Internal Affairs Unit cases are sent to the precinct where the incident occurred for review by the commander and two supervisors. Cases investigated by civilians in the Civil Rights Department are reviewed by a panel of Civilian Review Board members who make recommendations to the police chief.
The changes proposed earlier this summer called for a review of all cases by a panel of two civilians and two sworn officers. Their recommendations then would have gone to the police chief.
The new plan would have cases reviewed by a panel of three civilians and one sworn officer, with recommendations going to the chief after review by the assistant director of the Civil Rights Department. The complainant would have the ability to appeal the decision of the review panel.
All previous proposals called for the police chief to make the final decision about possible discipline.
The new plan gives the assistant director and a new Civilian Police Conduct Oversight Board the power to determine if the discipline ordered by the chief matches the violation.
The new proposals will be explained in detail at the public hearing, which will be held in the City Council Chambers.
This story was written based on material posted on a City Council agenda item and an interview with Council Member Don Samuels. The new plan comes from the Civilian Review Authority Board. This CRA board plan was part of the discussion at the Sept. 12 public hearing before the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Health Committee.