Dolan reappointment met with opposition

A petition alleges the Minneapolis police chief neglected to properly discipline officers.

Katherine Lymn

With the first hearing on the road to Tim DolanâÄôs reappointment Wednesday, two Minneapolis citizens are trying to bring down the Minneapolis police chief in the final hour. A petition filed by members of the Civilian Police Review Authority (CRA) and Communities United Against Police Brutality compels Authority chairman Donald Bellfield to disclose to the City Council Executive Committee what they call DolanâÄôs failure to appropriately discipline officers for unlawful behavior. Co-plaintiff Michelle Gross, of CUARP, said the petition has been a long time coming. âÄúWeâÄôve been bugging these guys for over three months to do this, and theyâÄôre going to let an opportunity slip out of their hands,âÄù Gross said. Dolan has been nominated for reappointment to his position for the next three years, and the first of three hearings to solidify the reappointment takes place Wednesday morning. Ward 2 City Councilman Cam Gordon, who serves on the Executive Committee and therefore has a vote in WednesdayâÄôs hearing, said he will likely vote Dolan forward despite the petition. âÄúWhile I am undecided and have some concerns âÄî and some of my concerns are centered around how the police has worked with the Civilian Review Authority or not âÄî tomorrow IâÄôll be voting probably to move his name forward,âÄù Gordon said. In the petition, co-plaintiff David Bickings of the CRA Board and Gross clearly stated it was purposely filed in the week of DolanâÄôs expected reappointment. âÄúTime is of the essenceâÄù for Bellfield to disclose DolanâÄôs shortcomings to the Executive Committee, the petition said. The Executive Committee âÄúshould be on full notice of DolanâÄôs deficiencies before deciding whether to send his potential reappointment to the council for a vote,âÄù the report stated. The next steps in the reappointment process are a public safety and health committee City Council meeting and a public hearing March 3. Gordon said this sequence of meetings is a reason he is comfortable voting Dolan ahead at todayâÄôs meeting. âÄúI think itâÄôs in the best interest if we go ahead and have the public hearing,âÄù Gordon said, âÄúso we can have an opportunity to hear from more people and let more council members participate.âÄù Gross claimed not to know why Bellfield neglected to report the noncompliance, but she did suspect DolanâÄôs appearance at a CRA Board meeting had something to do with it. âÄúThey [the CRA Board] were supposed to consider a motion to compel their chair to make this report,âÄù Gross said. âÄúHe [Dolan] shows up at their meeting for five minutes, saying, âÄòOh we can work it out âĦâÄô and then they decide theyâÄôre not going to consider the motion.âÄù The Minneapolis Police Department would not comment for this story, as it is an open case, said Minneapolis police Lt. Greg Reinhardt. Bellfield was not available for comment. âÄú[CRA Board members] have a judiciary responsibility to uphold the agency and uphold the work that it does,âÄù Gross said. âÄúTheyâÄôre not doing it.âÄù According to the petition, CRA Board members attempted to get BellfieldâÄôs compliance in previous meetings, but their efforts were ineffective. At TuesdayâÄôs hearing, Judge Susan Burke ordered Bellfield to notify the Executive Committee of DolanâÄôs failure to comply with city ordinances that demand disciplining unlawful officers; Bellfield must also share with the committee that such discrepancies may result in disciplinary action for Dolan. If Bellfield cannot prove he has done this by 10 a.m. Wednesday morning, he must explain his actions to the court at that time, said Gross, who sees this step as a victory. The court had not issued a ruling on the petition against Dolan as of press time.