While Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan awaits City Council confirmation for reappointment, an independent civilian police review group is giving him poor marks for not disciplining officers for misconduct in most cases presented to him by the board.
The Minneapolis Civilian Police Review Authority Board, which is appointed by the City Council and Mayor R.T. Rybak, is charged with investigating citizen complaints about the Minneapolis Police Department. On Wednesday, the group publicly discussed an 18-page performance review of Dolan it released last month.
Last fall, Rybak nominated Dolan for another three-year term, and the City Council is expected to vote on it early this year.
According to the civilian review authority's report, Dolan has disciplined only five of the 37 officers the board determined were guilty of misconduct. Of those who were disciplined, three received letters of reprimand and two received oral reprimands.
The civilian review board deemed Dolan's performance in that area "unsatisfactory," noting that the department "has seriously undermined the most important function of the [civilian review board] by nearly always refusing to discipline its officers in response to sustained civilian complaints."
In some cases, Dolan cited "insufficient evidence," the report states. And in other cases, the decision not to discipline an officer was based on accounts that contradicted the "findings of fact" determined during the hearing held by the review panel.
The panel scolded Dolan for "unilaterally" overturning the panel's adjudicated facts and violating the language in the ordinance that established the Civilian Police Review Authority. The board said that violating the ordinance should be considered misconduct by the chief and that he should be disciplined.
The board found fault with Dolan in a number of other areas affecting the panel's role in reviewing citizen complaints, but also commended him for making police reports and evidence available to the group, for encouraging officers to cooperate with interviews and mediations and for providing training to members of the citizen authority.
Mary Lynn Smith • 612-673-4788