Issues abound in filing police misconduct complaints, report finds

A new report from the Minneapolis Police Conduct Oversight Commission found several issues with the department's process for filing misconduct complaints, especially at the precinct level.

The draft report, called "Complaint Filing Experience," examines ways in which people can file misconduct complaints, including filing online, filing complaints directly with the Officer of Police Conduct Review (OPCR) or the Internal Affairs Unit (IAU) and filing complaints at precincts.

The Police Conduct Oversight Commission planned to to talk about the findings at Minneapolis City Hall Tuesday evening.

Among the issues cited in the report:

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• In 13 of 15 attempts to test-file complaints at police precincts, people were not given opportunities to file complaints.

• Police department websites offer inconsistent information on how to file a complaint.

• The OPCR and IAU are only open during business hours, and they can be intimidating places for some people to file reports and have offices that aren't clearly marked.

The report, which was published Saturday, said when the testers went to the city's five precincts, they were often told paperwork was not available, were directed to file in the precinct where the incident happened — which isn't necessary — and were told they needed officers' names or badges, also not needed for a complaint.

The report said testers had positive experiences at the 4th Precinct, where complaints were accepted and sent to the OPCR within 24 hours.

Police Conduct Oversight Commissioner Jenny Singleton said she was troubled by some of the findings.

"It sounds like there's a lot of misinformation out there, creating barriers for people who are trying to file a complaint at the precinct," she said. "So we're hoping MPD can implement the recommendations we have to eliminate those barriers."

Among the report's recommendations:

• Training for all precinct officers and a OPCR/IAU lockbox at each precinct to accept complaints.

• Clear, concise and consistent information on city websites about the complaint process.

• Have OPCR/IAU investigators periodically take complaints at community locations in the city, allow people to pick up complaint forms at community organizations around the city and mail them in.

"I just think this report is a great opportunity for MPD to take something that could definitely use improvement and really take proactive action to address that," Singleton said.

The department emailed a statement about the report Tuesday afternoon from Assistant Chief Kris Arneson.

"The Minneapolis Police Department is in the process of writing a protocol based on the findings of the Police Conduct Oversight Commissions," her statement said.