Mpls City Council hosting hearing on Civilian Review Authority overhaul today
After a temporary delay to gather input from the public, the battle over the Minneapolis Civilian Police Review Authority continues today.
At its meeting this afternoon, a City Council committee will hold a public hearing on whether or not to scrap the current model of the civilian oversight board, started more than 20 years ago. A new proposal, authored by City Councilman Don Samuels, would create a joint panel of citizens and sworn officers to review misconduct cases. According to Samuels, the new system would be more effective, faster, and provide more transparency.
"Outcomes have been very dismal over the years, and frustrating for the public," says Samuels. "It has to change, and we can't hold onto it like it's something descended from the gods."
Samuels isn't alone in suggesting something is wrong with the CRA, but critics of the new proposal fear it would remove a vital avenue for independent investigation into complaints against police officers.
"It's going to end civilian oversight for all practical purposes in this city," says Chuck Turchick, a citizen watchdog of the ongoing CRA saga.
Turchick says the oversight board would be more effective if the police administration took its calls for disciplining officers seriously. In a 2011 report, the board noted that Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan only imposed discipline in seven of the 53 cases they sustained between June 2010 and July 2011.
At today's meeting, city staffers will present an analysis of the proposed improvements, and feedback from three public input sessions. The hearing begins at 1:30 p.m. in room 317 of City Hall.