Mpls council asks why no disciplinary action against police

Some members of the Minneapolis City Council asked pointed questions Wednesday about the city's new system of investigating civilian complaints against Minneapolis police officers.

The city recently released a report that found that out of more than 300 complaints filed so far, none of the cases reviewed by chief Janee Harteau has resulted in disciplinary action.

In many cases the complaints were dismissed because the allegations lacked merit.

The report on the new police conduct review system found that about one-fifth of complaints were based on allegations of excessive force by officers.

City council member Cam Gordon asked why so many cases were dropped.

"Even when we thought a few of them had merit - it didn't warrant any discipline," Gordon said. "So I'm not sure that's going to instill confidence in people to think they can come here and complain and they're going to actually make any difference."

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Minneapolis city officials told council members the new civilian police oversight system is working better than its predecessor. The Office of Police Conduct Review began taking complaints against officers last fall.

Michael Browne directs the Office of Police Conduct Review. Browne said under the new system, civilian and police supervisors review incoming complaints. He says officers mentioned in many of the complaints are given coaching.

"Coaching is where we send a complaint to the precinct - to the officer's supervisor for the supervisor to handle the complaint. And those are typically minor issues, lower level issues," Browne explained.

Browne said minor offenses included violating department policy.