PCIARC review will set precedent

A University of Minnesota center will lead a review of the St. Paul Police Civilian Internal Affairs Review Commission, the city mayor’s office said Friday.
 
The University’s Center for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking is heading the audit, which comes after concerns regarding the violent arrest of Chris Lollie in a St. Paul skyway.
 
The PCIARC voted that officers involved in Lollie’s arrest should be “exonerated” of wrongdoings. However, the president of the St. Paul NAACP, Jeff Martin, told the
Pioneer Press that the review commission is flawed and “not totally independent” because two officers sit on the PCIARC. 
 
The commission is charged with reviewing citizen complaints alleging that St. Paul police have discriminated, used excessive force and fired a gun for reasons aside from training. 
 
Under the current process, the commission’s findings work their way up to the police chief, who makes final disciplinary decisions.
 
As issues with police brutality pervade discourse across the country, it’s crucial that review boards like the PCIARC are functioning properly.
 
Involving academics at the University’s restorative justice center is exactly how review entities can receive the guidance they need to ensure they’re functioning equitably.
 
The restorative justice center has been around since 1994, and it now applies to a wide realm of fields that range past the traditional definitions of criminal justice.
 
We hope that this independent review of the PCIARC can both help the city of St. Paul and set a precedent for improving other police departments across the state.