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Minneapolis leaders announce independent review of police-ketamine report

A leaked draft report revealed some officers had urged medical responders to drug people.

The reported use of ketamine on Minneapolis residents by emergency responders at the urging of police will be subject of an independent investigation.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Police Chief Medaria Arradondo confirmed the third-party probe late Monday, saying it will start once the current Office of Police Conduct Review (OPCR) report is complete.

It was a draft of the OPCR report that sparked controversy last week, after the Star Tribune obtained a copy and shared some of its findings.

Among those findings was the revelation that in dozens of cases, Minneapolis police officers encouraged Hennepin Healthcare medical responders to subdue suspects by drugging them with ketamine, even when it wasn't clear a crime had been committed.

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In the wake of the report, Arradondo said that he had stopped the practice as soon as he'd learned of it, as well as finding several faults with the report and criticizing its leak as "reckless."

But on Monday, Frey and Arradondo said an independent review would be conducted into its findings, that they hope will rebuild any loss of public trust resulting from the revelation.

"To preserve public trust and ensure an impartial process – one free of any interference, intentional or otherwise – we will contract with an independent third party to provide the needed expertise to compliment the draft report’s findings," they said in a joint statement.

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"The people of Minneapolis deserve transparency from their government," they added.

"Contracting with a trusted expert will help ensure that public and all parties involved have a full understanding of what happened during the relevant activity between 2015 and 2017."

On Monday, members of Minneapolis City Council called on the OPCR to wrap up its investigation, and echoed calls for an external review to boost transparency.

Ward 4 councilor Philippe Cunningham wrote on Facebook that he was "appalled and deeply concerned" about the draft findings, adding: "We need to get to the bottom of this issue and do so with integrity."

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