The Minneapolis police chief and mayor on Sunday began their push for sweeping policy changes with a new rule that prevents officers involved in using deadly force from reviewing body camera footage before completing an initial police report.
The new standards come after a proposal by the Minneapolis City Council to dismantle the police force following the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed Black man who died after a white police officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, who is opposed to the abolishing the force, said the updated policies are designed to better capture officers’ perceptions and factors believed to exist when an officer acted. He and Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said the move is the first of what will be a series of new public safety policy reforms.
“Requiring officers who may become suspects to complete a police report before reviewing body cam footage will help ensure that investigators, attorneys, and jurors receive a transparent account of how an officer remembers the incident – one that hasn’t been influenced by other evidence,” Frey said in a statement.
Arradondo said the change would align with the rules for civilians, who are not allowed to watch body camera footage for an incident in which they may be potential suspects.
“The policies also restrict consultation with certain representatives immediately following a critical incident and clarify time requirements for reporting,” he said.
The framework of police departments across the country has been questioned after recent police killings. Former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death. Three other officers were charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter.
Police spokesman John Elder said he was told that all four officers had their body cameras on, which is department policy, but it’s not clear if any of them have seen the footage. Lt. Bob Kroll, the head of the Minneapolis police union, said last week that he had not seen video from the incident. Earl Gray, attorney for former officer Thomas Lane, said he has seen his client’s body camera video.
The Minneapolis City Council on Friday unanimously advanced a proposal to change the city charter to allow the police department to be dismantled. The proposed amendment would replace the police department with a new “Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention” that has yet to be fully defined.
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