Crime, Law and Justice

Minneapolis says all post-riot recommendations after George Floyd’s murder have been implemented

mayor talks to media with chief in background
Mayor Jacob Frey discusses the implementation of recommendations from an after-action report on the city's response to rioting that followed the 2020 murder of George Floyd.
Matt Sepic | MPR News

Minneapolis city leaders said Tuesday that they’ve finished implementing 27 recommendations from an after-action review that found a variety of problems with the public safety response to the rioting that followed George Floyd’s murder by police in 2020.

The city paid the Chicago-based consulting firm Hillard Heintze nearly $230,000 to conduct the review. Consultants watched dozens of hours of police body camera footage, read through thousands of documents, and interviewed police and fire department staff.

They found that the police and fire departments neglected their own emergency plans and never set up an adequate command structure. Mayor Jacob Frey said at a news conference that the city has implemented all of the recommendations that Hillard Heintze listed in their 2022 report.

“The city of Minneapolis has rallied a broad administration around change, around learning our lessons and about making sure that the next time that some form of emergency strikes, we are prepared in full,” Frey said.

Those recommendations from the report include revising the Minneapolis Police Department’s civil disturbance policy to make preservation of the First Amendment the primary objective for officers. 

The report also said the police and fire departments should designate a team that’s able to activate the incident command system quickly when necessary, improve the flow of information both internally and to the public and require that the police department implements strict oversight of “less lethal” 40mm crowd control projectiles.

Police Chief Brian O’Hara said the department now has a much higher threshold for using the weapons. 

“Previously, the 40 millimeters were authorized any time there was a risk of physical injury, which is just too broad in my opinion,” O’Hara said. “The policy has changed now that it requires a threat of significant bodily injury.” 

Last month Frey and about 70 other city leaders and staff took part in a four-day training session at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Emergency Management Institute in Emmitsburg, Maryland. FEMA covered the travel and lodging expenses for the program participants.

Frey said on the final day trainers put the group through a simulation of a civil unrest incident. He wasn’t specific about the basis of the fictional scenario, but he said staff performed their roles in the key parts of the incident command structure that the city would use in a real emergency.

“They made it extremely realistic,” he said. “Everything from broadcasts coming across the TV to an actor playing a particular principal. I gave two or three live press conferences over the span of just a few hours.” 

Also Tuesday, the city announced an upgrade to its text-based public alert system. Minneapolis residents can text MPLSAlerts to 77295 to sign up. The alerts are also available through the Smart911 smartphone app.