March 20, 2017 (MINNEAPOLIS) — In a press conference at City Hall this afternoon, Mayor Betsy Hodges and Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau responded to the release of the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) after-action assessment of the City of Minneapolis’ response to the protests, demonstrations and occupation of the Minneapolis Police Department’s Fourth Precinct in late 2015. Mayor Hodges and Chief Harteau formally requested the independent review in February of 2016. The COPS office released their report this morning.
“I am proud to say that the report says that by and large, we came through this experience well,” said Mayor Hodges. “In need of healing, for certain, but far better than most other cities, with only one arrest, no serious injuries from police–demonstrator interactions that we know of, and no damage to private property — and all in the course of an unprecedented event of unprecedented length that no other city and no other people have been through before or since. We didn’t do things perfectly and certainly made mistakes, but by and large, as a people and as a city, we came through this well.”
The report, produced in partnership with the Police Foundation, provides 36 findings and 71 recommendations that focus on leadership and incident command, internal and external communication, use of force, training, equipment and tools for managing demonstrations, officer safety, and community engagement.
“I want to thank the COPS office for this thorough and independent after-action assessment. Looking back at any situation, there are always areas that can be identified for improvement. We will be taking a very close look at the recommendations, and we also want to note that these recommendations will be very helpful for other law enforcement agencies for years to come. I also appreciate the observations regarding the professionalism exhibited by our police officers at the time, and the recognition of what could have happened without such a measured and thoughtful response. I just want to reiterate that I cannot thank our officers enough for their professional response over the course of the occupation,” Chief Harteau said.
“We take this report seriously, both in its praise and in its criticism,” said Mayor Hodges. “The conclusions we can draw from it hew to what we already know: if we are to build trust between the MPD and our communities, we have to address our challenges head on. The Chief and I have demonstrated our willingness and ability to do that, and our willingness to look ourselves squarely in the eye and ask, ‘Where can we do better?,’ and listen — and change — when the answers come. We are joined by a strong, active community committed to coming together for the common good, and by police and city leadership willing to do the difficult work of actual systems change, which takes time, energy, and commitment.”
An electronic version of the report can be found by clicking on the following link: http://ric-zai-inc.com/ric.php?page=detail&id=COPS-W0836