Fewer filing against MPD

However, an anti-police-brutality group received 17 complaints last week.

Andy Mannix

While incidents involving Minneapolis police using force climbed significantly from 2006 to 2007, the number of complaints made to the department decreased drastically, according to the 2007 Internal Affairs Unit report released by Minneapolis police last week.

According to the report:

ï Force incidents increased 40 percent from 2006 to 2007.

ï Arrests increased from 53,220 to 55,645.

ï Internally and externally generated complaints decreased 8.2 percent.

ï Total complaints decreased 10 percent, from 246 to 222.

Minneapolis police spokesman Sgt. Bill Palmer attributes the decrease in complaints to an emphasis on people skills during the department’s training.

Palmer said Minneapolis police are dealing with the public in a more “professional” manner than in past years.

“We’re not in the business of making people happy, but the way we are training our officers to interact with the public may be working,” Palmer said. “I would say that it is.”

At a community forum June 16 facilitated by the Police Executive Research Forum – a private company currently investigating the Minneapolis police Internal Affairs Unit – many community members criticized the MPD’s ability to deal with the public.

Many said they have been discouraged and threatened to not file complaints with the MPD’s internal affairs.

Michelle Gross, president of Communities United Against Police Brutality , said her organization has received a record number of complaints against Minneapolis police in the past few weeks, including 17 last week.

“We are just floored by the number of complaints we’re receiving,” Gross said. “It’s summertime, and it’s usual for our numbers to go up in the summer, but it is just skyrocketing.”

Based on information gathered by CUAPB, Gross said the report released by the MPD presents an “overly rosy” picture.

“I don’t feel that this agency is in any way serious about monitoring the conduct of the police,” she said.

Minneapolis police spokesman Sgt. Jesse Garcia denied that community members have been discouraged from reporting complaints.

“It’s a very open process,” Garcia said. “You can file a complaint without even dealing with an officer.”

After a complaint passes the preliminary investigation, it can escalate into a formal internal affairs case, come under panel or chief review or receive an administrative examination, which may lead to policy changes.

Of the 222 complaints, 63 were formally investigated and 13 others moved past the preliminary stage, according to the report.

The most common forms of disciplinary action taken in sustained formal internal affairs cases in 2007 were suspension and coaching. There were four terminations, according to the report.

Of Internal Affairs Unit cases, almost twice as many complaints came from internal sources than external.