The Minneapolis Police Department said Tuesday that it’s changing its use-of-force policy to encourage officers to try to de-escalate intense situations and hold them accountable when force or weapons are used.
For the first time, officers will be required to document how they tried to de-escalate situations in every report they submit.
Officers also must report why they decided to use force and explain why they used a particular level of force.
The new orders issued Tuesday by Police Chief Medaria Arradondo are the latest in a series of reforms being implemented after George Floyd’s death in May.
“This change will instill a stronger emphasis on de-escalation and help effectively curb excessive use of force by ensuring our officers center de-escalation in any and all interactions between officers and the community,” Mayor Jacob Frey said in a statement. “These comprehensive reporting requirements will help reinforce de-escalation as the first resort.”
The new policies also require officers to report whenever they draw a gun — as well as an additional report whenever they point a gun at anyone or use chemical agents.
Officers also must report whenever they handcuff a suspect, use pressure points and “joint manipulation.” When police do use force against a citizen, they will be required to use the code word “force” in their report.
“As the MPD continues to professionalize our service and make necessary reforms, these new changes in policy, strengthening de-escalation and use of force reporting will play a key role in our efforts in building trust and legitimacy with all those we serve,” Arradondo said.
The department has been under pressure to make changes since Floyd died on May 25 after an officer knelt on his neck and three other officers failed to intervene.
A supermajority of the City Council pledged to disband the department, a move Frey has opposed, saying he wants to improve the department’s procedures and culture. Darwin Forsyth, a spokesman for the mayor, said the de-escalation policy is designed to make officers think about it on a regular basis.
“It’s one piece of the puzzle of making de-escalation more a part of the culture,” he said.