The City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Police Department announced sweeping changes to use-of-force policies on Tuesday, which Mayor Jacob Frey said should help alleviate a "deepened rift" between officers and people in the community.
The new policy includes:
- Revisions for when deadly force is authorized
- Requirements and higher thresholds for all types of use of force
- Restrictions on certain actions and behaviors
- New definitions and principals that will guide use of force
"Overhauling use-of-force policies is a key component in preventing future tragedies," Mayor Frey said. "These changes are being made with the overriding goal of strictly limiting force and deadly force to circumstances where it is necessary to keep people safe."
The changes demand that officers consider "all reasonable alternatives before resulting to deadly force," Frey said, and that officers "use the lowest level of force needed to safely control a subject."
Any use of force, including the unholstering or drawing of a firearm, which is now considered a a threatening and traumatic act, will need to be documented swiftly, with officers involved in use of force incidents required to document how they considered reasonable alternatives.
"Deadly force sometimes is necessary but it is always tragic," said Frey. "If a non-lethal alternative is available to an officer, that option should be taken."
Full definitions of types of resistance officers deal with haven't been released, but they are broken into three categories: compliance, aggravated resistance and aggressive resistance. Frey said the type of force used in each situation should not go beyond what the situation calls for, with the lowest level of force always preferred.
"This is in line with what we have to do and what are communities are demanding us to do," said MPD Chief Medario Arradondo, who noted that there have been over 300 people shot and wounded in Minneapolis this year and including 51 homicides.
"That's unacceptable and we will continue to be out there protecting our communities. We're also asking our communities to look out after each other and enough with the violence, we cannot tolerate that," Arradondo said.
Mayor Frey is also hoping to see arbitration reform so that officers who are fired or disciplined for breaking use-of-force policies can't have an arbitrator overrule their punishment and allow them back on the force.
"We need arbitration reform that tackles arbitrator authority to overturn a police chief's disciplinary decisions in cases of established and egregious misconduct," the mayor said.
The policy change also includes the ban of shooting at moving vehicles unless it is done so to protect bystanders or fellow law enforcement.
The changes come on the heels of the Minneapolis City Council aiming to disband the city police department and replace it with a new form of community policing that would still require a significant number of officers.