Minneapolis, MDHR pick top 3 candidates for key police oversight role

State and local leaders have chosen their top three candidates for a role that will monitor and evaluate Minneapolis’ compliance with its consent decrees.

The city of Minneapolis and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) announced that three teams will make public presentations on their proposals to be the city’s independent evaluator. That role is part of the settlement agreement between the city and state after an MDHR investigation reported that the Minneapolis Police Department engaged in a “pattern and practice of race discrimination.”

The initial agreement called for the independent evaluator to be chosen by mid-November but Minneapolis and MDHR asked the court for an extension this fall. Now, the independent evaluator is expected to start by March 9, the city says.

The top three candidates will make their public presentations and answer questions from the community next month before a final decision is made. Those community sessions are scheduled for Jan. 9 from 6-8 p.m. at the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs’ Cowles Auditorium and 6-8 p.m. on Jan. 10 at Plymouth Congregational Church.

The three teams are:

  • Effective Law Enforcement For ALL (ELEFA), a nonprofit with offices in New Orleans and Silver Springs, Md. Officials say it was formed to help police and community leaders work together “to reinvent law enforcement in their communities to achieve policing that is effective, respectful, restrained and, above all, safe for the public and the police.”
  • Jensen Hughes, a law enforcement consulting firm with offices around the world, including one in Minnetonka. Officials say the firm is “committed to improving the performance of policing to ensure the law enforcement agency practices are constitutional, procedurally just and delivered in a manner that builds trust and confidence in the communities they serve.”
  • Relman Colfax, a Washington, D.C.-based national civil rights firm. The city and MDHR say the firm has “a long record of combatting community-wide race and disability discrimination; representing cities and law enforcement officers facing race discrimination; and conducting monitorships, audits, and internal investigations.”

After the selection is made, the Minneapolis City Council will have to approve a contract with the chosen candidate.

In addition to overseeing reforms under the city’s consent decree with the state, the team is expected to do the same with the consent decree that is expected to come from the U.S. Department of Justice. The DOJ already announced back in June that it found reason to believe that Minneapolis and its police department “engaged in a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the first and fourth amendment of the United States Constitution.”