Two Minneapolis City Council members said Wednesday that the council will delay action until next week on a proposed ordinance creating a new Community Commission on Police Oversight.
The council was expected to vote on the ordinance Thursday, but ran into criticism about the proposal at a public hearing last week along with opposition from three recent former chairs of the current oversight board.
In addition, the state Department of Human Rights has been discussing with City Council members what it believes should be in the oversight ordinance, according to a source familiar with the process.
Council President Andrea Jenkins and Council Vice President Linea Palmisano said the council will hold a meeting Tuesday to take up amendments and then vote on the proposal, which will be the single item on the agenda.
"One of the things we tried to do in this new ordinance was to respond to allegations" in the recent report by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights that was critical of the Minneapolis police, Palmisano said.
In a letter to council members Wednesday, Jenkins wrote that she believed it was in the city's best interest "to have more time to review and refine the amendments that have been or will be brought forward."
She declined to spell out Wednesday what amendments might be approved at Tuesday's meeting.
As currently worded, the proposed ordinance sets membership of the new commission at 15, eight to be named by the City Council and seven by the mayor. Palmisano said the number of members could be reduced to 13, all appointed by the council, though she added that she favors some mayoral appointees.
But in a letter to the City Council, three former chairs of the previous oversight commission wrote that the proposed ordinance "does not correct the fatal flaws we identified when serving on the commission, in fact it makes some of those problems worse."
At a news briefing Wednesday, former oversight commission chair Abigail Cerra said the council should delay action on a new ordinance until February or March, and in the meantime take testimony from legal experts, police and past commission chairs. She said she was also speaking on behalf of former chairs Cynthia Jackson and Jordan Sparks.
Cerra said she doesn't want police personnel on the new commission, but the proposed ordinance wouldn't block them. Palmisano said a revised ordinance might bar anyone who has been certified by the state's POST Board from being on the commission, but she said she still favors having officers, with their experience and knowledge, on the review panels.
Under the proposed ordinance, three members of the commission and two police officers would review investigations of complaints against officers that have been conducted by either the police department's Internal Affairs unit or the city's Civil Rights Department. The panel would then make a recommendation to the police chief on whether the complaint has merit, and the chief would decide whether to issue discipline.
Every commission member would have an opportunity to sit on several panels during the year and participate in full commission meetings, which would occur at least four times a year. At such meetings, commissioners could make policy proposals.