A proposal to reorganize the way the city investigates allegations of police misconduct could spark a debate at Friday’s City Council meeting because of amendments that Council Member Cam Gordon said Thursday he plans to introduce.
The current proposal, which has the backing of the leadership of both the Minneapolis Police Department and Civil Rights Department, would replace the Civilian Review Authority with a new agency that would combine the police and citizen investigators into a single unit that would investigate complaints from citizens and recommend to the police chief whether an officer should be disciplined.
Gordon voted against the proposal at a meeting last week of the Public Safety Committee, which passed the measure 3 to 1 with one abstention. He announced Thursday at the council’s Committee of the Whole that he will introduce three amendments on Friday. While he did not say so, the amendments would tilt the new agency somewhat more toward a civilian orientation.
Under the current proposal, complaints would be evaluated by a panel comprised of two civilians and two police officers. Gordon said he will introduce an amendment that would to the panel a fifth member who would be a civilian. A second amendment would create a “firewall” that would prohibit information about investigations from being circulated in the police department.
A third amendment, he said, would allow complainants to choose whether the investigation of their case would be done by a civilian or police investigator. Under the current proposal, there would be seven police investigators and two civilian investigators, and a complainant would have no voice in who does the investigation. Gordon said Thursday said he fears that under the current proposal most of the investigations would be done by police.
During the Committee of the Whole meeting on Thursday, no council member reacted when Gordon said he planned to introduce the amendments, and it is unclear whether any of them have a chance of passing.
Contacted by the Star Tribune, Velma Korbel, director of the city’s Civil Rights Department and one of the architects of the original proposal, said Thursday that there are “lots of conversations that are happening.” But she said she had no comment on Gordon’s amendments.