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Minneapolis police tweak policies on use of force

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The Minneapolis Police Department has made changes to its policies involving the use of force by officers.

The revisions were made on July 28 but a public announcement came on Monday from Police Chief Janeé Harteau and Mayor Betsy Hodges. They told reporters the changes are meant to improve the relationship between police and the community they serve.

(Their news conference begins about six minutes into the video below.)

What's new?

You can find the department's complete manual of policies and procedures here. The new policies, however, are all in the section titled "Use of Force."

For example, a new part of that section is titled "Duty to Intervene" and it says any time one employee sees another using force inappropriately or after it's no longer needed, it's their duty to try to put a stop to that force.

Other changes specify that officers must work to de-escalate any conflict that arises. They also have to report any inappropriate use of force to their supervisors.

The section also now begins with a statement that the cornerstones of the department's policy are sanctity of life and the protection of the public.

Officials in Minneapolis say the changes are consistent with recommendations made by the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing last year.

"How I would want a family member treated"

Chief Harteau summarized the revised use of force policy by saying "The question every officer should ask themselves: 'Did my actions reflect how I would want a family member of mine to be treated?'" WCCO reports.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota called the policy changes a step in the right direction.

According to The Associated Press Harteau said the changes were being developed before the fatal shooting of Jamar Clark by two Minneapolis officers last November.

That incident sparked weeks of protests in Minneapolis. Prosecutors at the county and federal level declined to press criminal charges against the officers.

Activist KG Wilson tells WCCO police and the community in Minneapolis need to improve their relationship and he thinks that was happening before Clark's shooting dealt a setback to the progress.

“We were building it and people’s mindsets were changing and they were starting to open their doors and saying okay maybe we can trust,” Wilson said.

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