Settlement paves way for city to keep close tabs on officers with credibility issues
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One of the many issues highlighted in the settlement agreement the Minneapolis City Council approved on Friday includes a pathway to fix the process that prosecutors use to track officers with credibility issues.
Investigators with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights had previously described that process as a “systemic failure,” leading to defendants not being informed of potentially damning information about officers involved in their cases.
As spelled out in the agreement, the city of Minneapolis must now use a sophisticated “Early Intervention System” that tracks a multitude of information about an officer’s credibility.
“It is creating a database of misconduct that is going to be broader and more systematic than anything the police department or the city seemed to have in place previously,” said Rachel Moran at the University of St. Thomas.
Moran has spent years following this issue, commonly referred to as Brady after the law that requires prosecutors to disclose credibility issues about officers which could jeopardize criminal cases.
Last year, 5 INVESTIGATES reported on several cases where MPD officers had their credibility called into question in court by judges, defense attorneys, and even a county prosecutor.
According to the settlement, the city will now track any “negative credibility determination of an officer” anytime they’re found to be untruthful in court and any time a prosecutor declines a case due to an officer’s credibility.
“Now the city attorney’s office is supposed to have essentially automatic access to misconduct records within the police department so that they can no longer say the police department just didn’t turn this over in time, or we didn’t know about it,” Moran said.
The Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office has previously said they reassigned an attorney to focus on these types of issues full-time to enhance the process.
This consent decree has no authority over the Hennepin County Attorney’ Office, but Mary Moriarty has since taken over and has promised an overhaul to how the county tracks officers with credibility issues.