10/5/2014 Newsletter

Contents:

  • Copwatch Training
  • O22 Protest at North Commons Park
  • PCOC Community Meeting
  • City to Hold Events to Shore Up Chief's Image
  • OPCR a Flop

GET INVOLVED! LOTS OF UPCOMING EVENTS:

COPWATCH TRAINING
Wednesday, October 8 at 6:30 p.m.
NOC Office, 911 W Broadway, Minneapolis

Learn about your right to observe and videotape police activity, how to do it safely, and how to create videos that could be used in court, if needed.  Sponsored by SUAPB (student CUAPB chapter on the U of M campus) and Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC).

OCTOBER 22 NATIONAL DAY OF PROTEST AGAINST POLICE BRUTALITY
Protest Rally and March
Wednesday, October 22 at 6:30 p.m.
Meet at North Commons Park, Golden Valley Road and Morgan Ave N, Minneapolis

SHINE A LIGHT ON POLICE BRUTALITY!  We will meet up at North Commons park to expose and demand an end to police brutality.  After a brief rally, we will march to an appropriate target.  Bring signs and a flashlight and join us for a powerful action that will call out police brutality and will honor those who have lost their lives at the hands of law enforcement.

PCOC TO HOLD MEETING IN COMMUNITY
Tuesday, October 14 at 6:00 p.m.
Minneapolis Continuing Education, 2225 E Lake St, Minneapolis

The Police Conduct Oversight Commission is the public body that is associated with the agency that replaced the civilian review authority.  The PCOC is supposed to be proposing policies and otherwise trying to impact police conduct.  While it's clear that the mechanism set up by the city was never meant to be successful, this group of civilians is making some efforts to fulfill their mandate.  It is important that the community stay engaged with this agency to know what they are doing and pressure them to take action.  Their monthly meetings are usually at city hall, an unfriendly environment for the community.  This meeting presents an opportunity for people to attend their meeting in a more accessible location.
CITY TO HOLD EVENTS TO SHORE UP CHIEF'S IMAGE
Chief Harteau's refusal to attend the community forum on policing on September 18 created a PR fiasco for the mayor.  City officials have scrambled to repair the damage.  The chief made a vague apology, yet again changing her excuse for not attending the event.  Now the city has announced that they will be holding three community forums to "beef up community policing programs" (apparently not to actually address problems with the police).  They also announced a monthly "chat with the chief" meeting, though no specifics were given.  The dates for the three upcoming community meetings are:
  • Oct. 8 at Macedonia Baptist Church, 3801 1st Av. South, from 6:30-8:00 p.m.;
  • Oct. 14 at Church of the Ascension, 1723 Bryant Av. North, from 7:00-8:30 p.m.;
  • Oct. 30 at an yet-to-be-determined location in the Cedar–Riverside neighborhood, from 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Despite the announced focus of these meetings, we would encourage members of the public to attend these events and speak your mind.  Note that the October 14 event is on top of the PCOC public meeting, again showing the lack of city support of community oversight of police.
OPCR A FLOP: TIME FOR REAL CIVILIAN OVERSIGHT
 
Two years ago, Minneapolis scrapped the Civilian Review Authority in favor of the Office of Police Conduct Review (OPCR), an oversight scheme that had never been tried anywhere in the country.  At the time, Communities United Against Police Brutality (CUAPB) and every community member who attended the public meetings opposed this concept.  Further, the civilian review board members themselves opposed it and the National Association for the Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) determined that the plan would “effectively eliminate civilian oversight.”
 
A new study of OPCR data after two years of operation confirms our initial analysis.  The study by CUAPB shows that almost no cases received by the agency resulted in any discipline.
  • During the period, 664 complaints were received of which 574 were processed.
  • Of the 574 complaints that were processed, only 36—6.3%—were investigated to the point that the officer was even questioned.
  • Of the 36 cases that were investigated, only five officers received even minor discipline.
  • In the end, less than 1% of complaints resulted in any discipline.
One major purpose of discipline is to deter future misconduct.  The process needs to be transparent, impartial, timely and effective enough to ensure that appropriate discipline actually occurs.  As the system exists now, there is no transparency and no expectation by officers that bad conduct will actually result in discipline.
 
The OPCR employs nine full-time investigators and several other staff members.  The lack of tangible results is a waste of city resources, undermines the Civil Rights department, and perverts the concept of civilian review.
 
On the two year anniversary of the OPCR, it is time for the Minneapolis city council to scrap the current system and institute a REAL civilian review authority, with subpoena power, the power to recommend discipline, and resources adequate to properly perform their duties and restore the public trust.

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