Mpls mayoral candidates differ over investigating police misconduct

The candidates for mayor of Minneapolis clashed over how the city should respond to complaints against the police department at their final scheduled debate before precinct caucuses April 16.

North Minneapolis Mayoral Debate.JPG

The candidates for mayor of Minneapolis debated Sunday at New Salem Missionary Baptist Church on the city’s north side. Candidates facing the camera, from the left: Gary Schiff, Jackie Cherryhomes, Mark Andrew, Don Samuels, Betsy Hodges and Cam Winton. (MPR Photo/Curtis Gilbert)

Listen to the full debate here:

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Last year, Minneapolis introduced a new system for dealing with allegations of misconduct to include both civilian and police department investigators.

It replaced a system where a civilian panel would review complaints and then refer them to the police department. The chief would decide whether to sanction the officer.

“Instead of making decisions as civilians and sending it to the police department to make decisions about discipline, let them sit together and talk it out, so that the incompatibilities that thrashed out at the table,” said Don Samuels, who championed the changes as a city council member. “The other thing was not working, and the community was frustrated.”

Attorney Cam Winton argued the new system should be given time to succeed. But other candidates accused the city of dismantling the independent investigation process.

“The statement that the police can police themselves is not realistic,” said Jackie Cherryhomes, who served on the city council when the Civilian Review Authority was created in the 1990s. “We need to re-institute the Civilian Review Authority in a strong way so that we ensure police accountability.”

Former Hennepin County Commissioner Mark Andrew agreed. Betsy Hodges and Gary Schiff both voted against the new system as city council members last year.

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