St. Paul has announced plans for three “community conversations” to collect public feedback on the recent audit recommending changes to the city police-civilian board that reviews complaints against officers.
The meetings, which are open to the public, will be held Nov. 12 in the Summit-University neighborhood, Dec. 3 on the West Side and Dec. 17 on the East Side.
Each meeting will include a community meal, followed by two hours of discussion. Residents who attend will be broken up into small groups “so all voices are heard,” according to a release issued by the city.
City Attorney Sammy Clark will be in charge of gathering input from the meetings, which he will use in making his recommendations to Mayor Chris Coleman. The mayor plans to attend the Nov. 12 meeting.
The board, called the Police-Civilian Internal Affairs Review Commission, has been accused of being too closely tied to the police to independently judge complaints that officers used excessive force. Much of the criticism has come from black community leaders, who believed the board was wrong last year to exonerate officers who had arrested and used a stun gun on a black man near a downtown skyway.
The results of the audit, conducted by the Center for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking at the University of Minnesota, were released last week. Auditors recommended that the board move its offices and meetings outside of police headquarters, expand the number of civilians on the board and remove the two police union members, and automatically launch an investigation whenever an officer is accused of using excessive force or misusing firearms.
The audit report and summary can be found at www.stpaul.gov/PCIARCaudit.