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Now we'll find out how things really went

  • Article by: DAVID CHANEN
  • Star Tribune
  • September 11, 2008 - 11:17 PM

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak announced Thursday that the city has a plan to evaluate security strategies during the Republican National Convention, appropriateness of arrests, financial impact on the courts and how well law enforcement worked with media.

He praised security at several large events during or immediately before the convention, including the Critical Mass Ride, Liberty Parade and Rage Against the Machine concert.

In addition, the Minneapolis Police Department was responsible for overall security in downtown, where numerous delegates were staying in hotels or attending parties and other gatherings.

Rybak said that, to his knowledge, "we had no damage to property and no violent incidents connected with RNC events."

Rybak also said that the city worked diligently to defend the First Amendment rights to free speech and peaceable assembly for residents and visitors.

"Overall, thousands of people demonstrated peacefully in the streets of Minneapolis and Saint Paul during the Republican National Convention," he said. "While a relatively small number of people engaged in violent and disruptive acts, for the most part this violence was isolated and limited."

Several departments will be providing the mayor and various council committees with reports.

The Police Department's will focus on major incidents. It will evaluate how well operations and training protocols were implemented, identify what worked and what did not, and recommend, if necessary, any policy changes.

The department will also debrief with the Secret Service on downtown security and work with Saint Paul's independent investigation. The report is expected to be completed by the end of next month.

The City Attorney's office will review the process used for citations and arrests to analyze their appropriateness and quality. The office will consult with the Hennepin County court system to understand and provide information on the financial impact on the courts. 

Rybak said that's important, because the courts did not receive any federal dollars, and there is "little doubt that the RNC will have a financial impact on court operations."

The Civil Rights Department has been asked to summarize and analyze convention-related complaints and recommend policy changes if appropriate. Rybak asked for the report in six months to allow investigators to review resolved claims.

In addition, Rybak suggested that officials try to develop a model policy for how to work with the media during large crowd events.

David Chanen • 612-673-4465

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