Minneapolis's top police oversight official won recognition this week for advocacy work that included leading an investigation into officers urging paramedics to sedate people with ketamine.
The Minnesota Justice Foundation named Imani Jaafar, director of Minneapolis' Office of Police Conduct Review, as one of the winners of its annual outstanding service award.
Janine Laird, the foundation's executive director, praised Jaafar on Wednesday for her work defending underserved communities in Minneapolis and "fighting Islamophobia."
"I think all of her career could be labeled courageous," Laird said.
Jaafar took the police oversight job three years ago after graduating from William Mitchell College of Law and working primarily as an estate planning and criminal defense attorney.
Under her leadership, the city's police oversight team examined officer body-camera footage, finding that officers on multiple occasions asked paramedics to sedate people with the powerful drug ketamine, sometimes when it didn't appear necessary. In May, police leadership ordered officers never to weigh in on medical decisions.
Mayor Jacob Frey called Jaafar "a model of transparency."
"She has an acute attention to detail," Frey said Wednesday. "I have a deep level of respect for her."
Jaafar also led work over the past year on how police respond to domestic violence calls and a study on rental housing policies that recommended changes to prevent tenants from being unfairly evicted. The latter prompted City Council Member Phillipe Cunningham to introduce changes to a city ordinance. Cunningham also praised Jaafar.
"Her work is excellent and demonstrates a wholehearted focus and commitment to the charge of protecting the civil rights for the people of Minneapolis," Cunningham said.
Also named for outstanding service were attorney Timothy McLarnan for private practice, Elizabeth Sauer of Central Minnesota Legal Services for direct service, and three law students: Royzetta Evans of Mitchell Hamline School of Law, Dr. Susan Craig of the University of Minnesota Law School and Jonathan Snyder of the University of St. Thomas School of Law.