U center will audit cop review processes

Ethan Nelson

A University of Minnesota center was selected to audit the panel that reviews complaints against the St. Paul Police Department, Mayor Chris Coleman’s office announced Friday.
The University’s Center for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking will produce a report on the effectiveness of the St. Paul Police-Civilian Internal Affairs Review Commission given the panel’s “current make-up,” according to a press release from the mayor’s office.
The panel is made up of five community members and two members of the St. Paul Police Federation. It reviews complaints made against St. Paul police officers to ensure accountability of both officers and civilians.
“Some of the founding members of the PCIARC were asking if the process needed to evolve a bit,” said Tonya Tennessen, the mayor’s communications director.
The mayor’s office selected the Center for Restorative Justice to address those concerns because of its success in engaging different communities, Tennessen said.
The center helps promote dialogue across communities in response to hate crimes and intolerance.
Coleman’s office expects the auditors to interview past and present commission members. The reviewers are expected to release their preliminary findings in August or September.
A video surfaced last August that showed St. Paul police officers using a stun gun while arresting a man in a St. Paul skyway. The video spurred backlash from the community over the officers’ conduct.
Coleman requested that PCIARC conduct a review of the incident. The panel found that the allegations of police misconduct were unfounded.
The panel doesn’t replace a grand jury or take on any work that the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office typically does, the release said.