Critics are calling into question a new office created by the Minneapolis City Council after 439 cases of alleged police misconduct have yielded no disciplinary measures against an officer, the Star Tribune reports.
The agency, formally known as the Office of Police Conduct Review (OPCR), was created by the city in 2012, replacing the Police Civilian Review Authority (CRA), which was dismantled in 2012.
Teresa Nelson, the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, told the Star Tribune that the criticism of the new office "was that it would not improve process and lead to less discipline" and that the "numbers show that those criticisms were accurate."
Medaria Arradondo, the commander of police internal affairs who reviews new complaints with the director of the OPCR, maintains "considerable progress" has been made by the new agency and the numbers reported obscure their gains.
The department's methods of disciplining its own have come under fire lately following recent incidents involving off-duty police officers, including an incident in Green Bay, Wis., where two officers were accused of fighting with black men and using racial slurs. That and another race-related incident involving officers in Apple Valley led MPD Chief Janee Harteau to create a citizens advisory group this summer.
Another criticism stems from a Star Tribune analysis, which found the city of Minneapolis paid out $14 million for alleged police misconduct claims between 2006 and 2012, but the department rarely concluded the officers involved did anything wrong.
Of the 439 cases in question, a large group of them were dismissed because they were older than 270 days, the Star Tribune reports. Seventeen of them -- all reported to the old CRA -- were forwarded to the new review panel, and seven of which merited possible discipline.
Seven of those cases were sent on to Harteau for review, and MPD Assistant Chief Matt Clark says that five of them were considered "nondisciplinary violations" and only eligible for coaching.
The two remaining cases are still being considered by Harteau, who is on vacation and was not available for comment, the paper says.
According to the Star Tribune, the OPCR says 99 complaints involving minor violations have been to the precincts. In those cases, supervisors coach officers as a way to improve interactions with the members of the public.