Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota’

Place-based policing & violent crime

March 14, 2022

Amid concerns about increases in violent crime, it is important to remember that “violence is highly concentrated in small sets of people and places,” and thus it makes sense to take a targeted approach to the problem. This column argues in particular for a strategy of place-based policing, an approach that doesn’t require “passing new legislation or adding enormous budget expenditures.” Examples of crime concentration from Boston, Minneapolis, and Oakland, California are cited, along with evidence of the effectiveness of problem-oriented and hot spot policing strategies.

Interview with retiring Minneapolis chief

February 2, 2022

Minneapolis PD chief Arradondo retired January 15 after 32 years in the agency, the last 4+ years as chief, which included the George Floyd murder, ensuing civil disorder, and a failed attempt to replace the police department with some kind of public safety entity. An interview with the chief is available here. Despite the operational, leadership, and political challenges he faced, overall he sees some positives. “I think the landscape of being a police chief has changed in this country — some of it for the good. There is a lot more transparency measures put in place. There is a lot more balance put on the leadership of the police chief. And I think there is also a lot more accountability than there has ever been for police chiefs, both internal and in terms of who the police chief reports to, elected officials and a lot more to the communities.”

A lot of liability in Minneapolis

November 18, 2021

Minneapolis is facing $111 million in legal claims since the George Floyd murder and subsequent riots, as reported in this article. That figure is about 10 times higher than what used to be a bad year for the city, which is self-insured. In addition, the city’s worker compensation claims tripled to $29 million last year, with the increase largely due to claims by police. A recent actuarial study estimated “the self-insurance fund’s outstanding losses — or the cost of unpaid claims — for workers’ comp and general liabilities at nearly $173 million, compared to $79 million at the end of 2019.”

Explaining the vote in Minneapolis

November 10, 2021

Last week, voters in Minneapolis rejected an amendment, by 56% to 44%, that would have replaced its police department with a department of public safety. This column helps explain how the voting unfolded, and what comes next. The proposed amendment itself was somewhat complicated and vague, so voters may have had different reasons for opposing it. In addition, lots has happened in the city since the George Floyd murder, including an increase in violent crime, an exodus of police officers, and the addition of mental health professionals to respond to some 911 calls. There is also now a USDOJ investigation underway, and the possibility that the mayor and council might implement some of the “reimagining” measures advocated by those who supported the failed amendment. According to a local observer, “One thing is sure: This is not the end of the conversation.”

DOJ issues new rules for consent decree monitors

September 17, 2021

The Department of Justice has recently opened investigations of police practices in Minneapolis, Louisville, and Phoenix. This week the Attorney General announced new rules pertaining to the federal monitors who oversee consent decrees, as reported here. According to the AG, “It is no secret that the Justice Department believes in the value of pattern-or-practice investigations. It is also no secret that the monitorships associated with some of those settlements have led to frustrations and concerns within the law enforcement community.” The new rules include budget caps, term limits, and restrictions on conflicts of interest. In addition, DOJ will develop more standardized tools to increase consistency among monitors working in different jurisdictions. 

Defunding losing steam in Atlanta

July 8, 2021

In Atlanta, defunding the police had a lot of momentum a year ago, but has faltered, as reported here. Residents are worried about increased crime, an affluent section of the city has threatened to secede, and the mayor has announced she won’t seek a second term. One resident thinks “the fact is, defund the police was never a winning message. Without the cops, I know folks would be up running into my house,” adding, “The more I think about this, I think we need to change American culture more than we need to change the cops.” In the view of a local historian, “Police are much better here than they were years ago. There’s diversity in terms of people and practice. But you’ve had a few outstanding incidents where the violence could have been de-escalated and nobody had to be shot. That’s what police have to work on.”

Accountability for federal agencies

June 30, 2021

Reform efforts to increase police accountability have mostly ignored or overlooked federal law enforcement agencies. Some local departments have withdrawn from federal task forces because body-worn cameras were prohibited. Pressure now seems to be mounting, as reported here in an article about a recent task force shooting in Minneapolis. According to a former DOJ official, “Task forces are a huge problem across the country and … are much less accountable than any local police department.” Besides the absence of BWC, unlike with local forces, “citizens can’t make complaints to be reviewed by a civilian board, for example. There’s more restrictive access to public information, and the federal government is harder to sue.”

$12 million restitution ordered for arson of Minneapolis police station

June 21, 2021

Four defendants have pled guilty to conspiracy to burn down the 3rd Precinct station in Minneapolis in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, as reported here. In federal court, judges are required to order full restitution following convictions for many serious crimes, including the Minneapolis case. However, the likelihood of collecting $12 million from the defendants is slim. Overall, federal authorities are able to recover only about 10% of ordered restitution payments.

Reflecting on federal civil rights investigations

May 3, 2021

With USDOJ again initiating federal civil rights investigations of police departments, the Attorney General has ordered a review of the monitoring process that is used to make sure PDs implement the changes they agree to in consent decrees. In the past, federal monitoring has lasted as long as 10-15 years for some cities. Also, monitoring has tended to be very expensive. This post from the PERF Trending series reviews the history of federal investigations and consent decrees, identifies benefits that have been achieved, and offers several suggestions for streamlining the process.

Boogaloo Movement

February 19, 2021

This article details the evolution of the Boogaloo Bois, described as “a decentralized, anti-authority movement composed of a diverse range of actors mobilized in part by adherents’ belief that they are following in the footsteps of the United States’ founders and participating in a revolution against tyranny.” Several members are awaiting trial or have pled guilty to recent crimes including murder of police, firing into a police station, conspiracy to attack a state capitol, attempting to provide support to a foreign terrorist organization, and various firearms charges. The article attributes the group’s appeal to a “corrupted conceptualization [of] a set of abstract virtues, or ideographs, that are deeply familiar to many Americans: liberty, rejection of government abuses, and disgust at authoritarianism.”