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Continued: In fence-mending move, Minneapolis police reach out to citizens at National Night Out events

  • Article by: JOY POWELL , Star Tribune
  • Last update: August 7, 2013 - 12:33 AM

Council Member Don Samuels, a mayoral candidate, and head of the City Council’s public safety committee said “When you go out and face things publicly, and in a case like this, disapproved publicly, people feel comforted, and that reassurance actually eclipses the shock they felt when the incident happened.”

A black woman in her 50s who spoke with Samuels echoed the sentiments of others, he said, when she told him that “if the police show up and treat them well, then people will trust them and give them information and so on.”

On Monday, Harteau said she plans to examine the department’s training and hiring practices but said that most Minneapolis police officers conduct themselves appropriately when dealing with the public and are distressed that the off-duty officers’ confrontations have generated negative impressions of all city officers among some citizens.

In both cases, the officers were out late at bars when the fights happened, and in both cases the officers behaved disrespectfully toward local police officers who showed up to investigate, according to police reports and video.

One of the incidents occurred June 29 in Green Bay; the other was late last year in Apple Valley. Five officers from the two incidents are under internal affairs review. Two SWAT team members were suspended with pay in one case, and two officers pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in the other.

The two cases have led to an uptick in criticism of expectations and accountability in the department and demands for change.

In a brief interview on Monday, Harteau said she plans to convene her Chief’s Citizens Advisory Council on Wednesday, with invitations to city faith and cultural leaders, as well as the police union, to talk about the issue. Many of the department’s rank and file have been upset by the allegations, she said.

“They are tired of the negative actions of a few that overshadow the great work they do every day,” said Harteau. “Enough is enough.”

Staff writers Randy Furst and Pamela Miller contributed to this report.

Joy Powell • 612-673-7750

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  • Minneapolis Police Chief Janée Harteau mixed with revelers at the Heritage Park National Night Out in north Minneapolis Tuesday night.

  • At National Night Out in the Heritage Park neighborhood in Minneapolis, Police Chief Janée Harteau, daughter Lauren, and Mayor R.T. Rybak enjoyed talking to the kids from the neighborhood

  • At National Night Out in Heritage Park, Jasmine Salter, 12, far right, walked on stilts as part of a parade of kids from the Phyllis Wheatley Center summer program.

  • Police Chief Harteau, her daughter Lauren and Mayor R.T. Rybak talked to kids.

  • In the Heritage Park neighborhood in Minneapolis, Autumn Merrick, 10, got some free summer picnic fare.

  • Sadrea Bobbins and Makayla Mabry were quite fiery about navigating their dragon back to its home base after parading around the neighborhood. They were part of a group of kids who spent the summer at the Phyllis Wheatley Center.

  • At National Night Out in the Heritage Park neighborhood in Minneapolis, police chief Harteau, daughter Lauren(in Love Pink), and mayor R.T. Rybak chatted with people out before the storms hit.] ORG XMIT: MIN1308062032487703

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