3/15/2010 Newsletter


  • Another Bad Bill to Stop: SF3163/HF3651
  • CRA Saga Continues: Bellfield Must Go!
  • Community Forum on the Future of the CRA


We need to ask you to take quick action to stop another terrible bill in the legislature.  This bill SF 3163 in the Senate and HF3651 in the House is called "Law enforcement data from other states classification" and would greatly broaden the sharing of unsubstantiated information about people with law enforcement agencies in other states.  Further, any data received from other states would be classified the same as that state classifies it.  Here are some of the problems with this bill:

1) This opens up a whole new world of data sharing that is just ripe for abuse.  For example, every time a local activist goes to another state to attend a meeting, protest, etc. the cops here could send whatever phony or unsubstantiated information to that state to be part of their "investigation" even if such spying on activists was never approved by a judge.

2) Under the Minnesota Data Practices Act, individuals who are the subject of data have wide access to data about themselves.  This law would gut access to data about an individual that is being held by local law enforcement agencies (and shared with others) if it came from another state that doesn't have good data practice laws.

This bill is set to be heard tomorrow by the Senate Judiciary Committee:

Hearing on SF 3163
Tuesday, March 16
3:00 p.m.
State Capitol, Room 15

If you can make it to the hearing and speak against this bill, that would be fantastic.  If not, please contact Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Mee Moua at 651-296-4842 and your own legislator to express your concerns about this really bad idea of a bill.

Here's the text fo the bill:

1.1A bill for an act
1.2relating to data practices; classifying data received from law enforcement
1.3agencies in other states;proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes,
1.4chapter 13.

1.7    Subdivision 1. Definitions. For purposes of this section, "law enforcement agency"
1.8includes an agency with a law enforcement function, as described in section 13.82,
1.9subdivision 1, or an equivalent agency in another state.
1.10    Subd. 2. Classification of data from other states. When a law enforcement agency
1.11in Minnesota receives data from a law enforcement agency in another state, the data
1.12are classified in Minnesota in a manner that is the equivalent to the data classification
1.13or treatment of the data in the other state.
1.14    Subd. 3. Sharing authorized. If a Minnesota law enforcement agency receives data
1.15that are classified as not public under subdivision 2, the data may be shared with other
1.16law enforcement agencies if the data are pertinent and necessary to the receiving agency
1.17in initiating, furthering, or completing an investigation.

On March 3rd, fresh out of the public hearing on the reappointment of Police Chief Dolan, we were all set to attend the monthly Civilian Review Authority (CRA) board meeting.  At least 30 community members arrived to find that board chair Don Bellfield had canceled the meeting without reason and, it appears, in violation of both the ordinance and open meeting laws.  In truth, we had heard about the cancellation earlier but decided to attend anyway, since the cancellation was illegal and we weren't sure if a quorum of members would attend and hold the meeting anyway. 

Two board members did attend and the meeting turned into a lively two-hour discussion of the CRA and what the community needs from the process.  For a change, everyone in attendance got to be fully heard.  Having attended many CRA board meetings over the years, this editor must say that this meeting was probably the most valuable and affirming meeting ever.  We intend to type up the minutes of that meeting and have them available for distribution at the April 7th meeting.  The community also decided to call for Chair Bellfield's resignation and to push for Dave Bicking to stay on the board.

You can add your name to the call for Bellfield's resignation at http://www.PetitionOnline.com/CUAPB003/petition.html

Please plan to attend the next CRA board meeting on April 7 at 6:30 p.m. at Minneapolis City Hall, Rm 333 and let your voice be heard.  Between Chair Bellfield's lawbreaking under the ordinance and his efforts to have Dave Bicking ousted from the board, things are really heating up with the CRA.  This next meeting promises to be plenty spicy.  You won't want to miss it!


What is the future of the Minneapolis Civilian Police Review Authority (CRA) in view of its recent and long-standing problems?
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Walker Church, 3104 16th Ave S, Minneapolis

What is the future of the CRA?  Will it be an effective agency to reduce police abuses?  Or will it be window dressing to deflect community anger? Will it become so obviously powerless that it is either discarded or redesigned once again?

The CRA board is currently in turmoil.  Some important progress has been made by the board, particularly in its evaluation of Police Chief Dolan's performance relative to the CRA.  Recently, internal divisions have led to the Board Chair's unilateral cancellation of the last board meeting, with no reason given.  The board chair has also called for the resignation of one of the most active members, Dave Bicking.

How can the CRA board move forward?  How can the CRA be more effective? How can we help Dave Bicking, who is up for reappointment by City Council and the Mayor?  These questions will be addressed by past and present members of the CRA and other long term activists against police brutality. All are welcome to come and share ideas, areas of disagreement, or any relevant information or experience.

   Michelle Gross, Communities United Against Police Brutality (CUAPB)
   Dave Bicking, member of the CRA*
   Pam Franklin, member of the CRA*
   Michael Friedman, Executive Director of Legal Rights Center, and past Board Chair of the CRA
   Papa John Kolstad, sometime candidate, musician, small businessman, and political activist
       *for identification only, not speaking on behalf of the CRA board

This forum comes just before the appointment of new members to the CRA and the possible reappointment of Dave Bicking.  We hope to engage the community at this important time for the CRA and to provide information for action.

Sponsored by Communities United Against Police Brutality and New Broom Coalition.

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