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DOJ Calls for More Transparency Involving MPD Force Incidents

March 21, 2017 10:32 AM

The United States Department of Justice issued a report Monday surrounding how the Minneapolis Police Department handled the 4th Precinct protests that followed the fatal officer-involved shooting of Jamar Clark in November of 2015.

The DOJ report made 71 recommendations to the City of Minneapolis, specifically focusing on leadership and incident command, internal and external communication, use of force, training, equipment and tools for managing demonstrations, officer safety and community engagement.

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“As the following report demonstrates, the department and its individual officers displayed commendable restraint and resilience in these extremely difficult circumstances,” said Russ Washington, Acting Director of the Federal Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

“Yet there are always lessons learned from these experiences, and to identify them, Chief Harteau and Mayor Hodges requested this after action review,“ he said. 

The shooting death of Jamar Clark in North Minneapolis fueled 18 days of protests.

The DOJ report found only three police force reports on file, but investigators later determined there were actually more than nine incidents of use of force.

RELATED: Justice Department Pans Police Response to Jamar Clark's Death

"While there is no evidence that the MPD deliberately attempted to underreport the use of force, the decision to capture incidents by assigning one incident case number per day caused confusion as to the actual number of incidents reported by officers and supervisors," the report found.

"We hold our officers to the highest standards and all uses of force are investigated,” said Chief Janeé Harteau at Monday's news conference. “All uses of forces were determined to be consistent with MPD training and policy."

Federal investigators also wrote: "To promote transparency, use of force data should be reported to the public in a timely and accurate manner... including also posting it on city run websites, including MPD’s.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has been trying to obtain use of force data since after the Clark shooting.

In January 2016, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS’ investigative team filed a public data request with the Minneapolis Police Department to learn about other force incidents from the year of the Clark matter.

MPD provided data last May showing there were 839 supervisor force reports from 2015; the most reports came from the 4th Precinct on the Northside, followed by the 3rd Precinct.

Of those 839 incidents, MPD records said 10 Internal Affairs/Office of Police Conduct Review investigations were assigned as a result of information stemming from the Supervisor’s Force Review.  Four of those 10 involved deadly force and were automatic force review investigations.

It’s been more than 10 months since a follow-up public records request was sent to the Minneapolis police records unit, asking for details about the 839 force reports on file. The request has not been completed as of March 20, 2017.

To see Mayor Betsy Hodges' full remarks, click here.

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Eric Chaloux

Copyright 2017 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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