Bodycam footage from a July incident in which Minneapolis park police handcuffed and pointed their guns at four unarmed Somali-American teens at Minnehaha Park will not be made public, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board said this week.
Interim Superintendent Mary Merrill said Wednesday that the internal employment investigation is complete, but it will not be available to the public unless a final disciplinary decision has been made.
“The body camera video is considered private data. ... There are additional policy implications when juveniles are involved,” Merrill said.
Meanwhile, the two officers involved in the incident are still on the job, spokeswoman Dawn Sommers said Thursday.
The park police were called to the park about 7:30 p.m. on July 10 when a 911 caller reported that four teenagers, ages 13 to 16, were involved in an assault and had weapons.
A video that went viral showed park police officers handcuffing the teens at the park and one officer pointing his gun at them.
In addition to looking into that incident, park officials also opened an investigation into the 911 call that prompted police to respond, but no charges were filed against the caller.
The caller had reported a dangerous situation with weapons, but police didn’t find any.
At a news conference about a week after the incident, three of the teenagers were accompanied by their mothers as they shared their story.
“Cops came running toward us. We felt discriminated [against]. We hope this never happens to anyone,” said Aden Aden, 16, standing with his mother, Sirat Guffe, who called the treatment of her son “subhuman.”
Also during Wednesday’s board meeting, Merrill listed several initiatives that stemmed from the incident, including creating an East African StreetReach team.
Commissioners also voted to create a park police advisory council and supporting legislation that would strengthen penalties and/or laws for reporting inaccurate information to police, which would be part of the board’s 2019 legislative agenda.
“We want to show the people in this city what we’re doing about this,” Commissioner Londel French said, later adding, “This gives some teeth. … It’s about the youth feeling safe.”