Concerns raised over Minneapolis Police complaint process

- A change in policies could be coming for the Minneapolis Police Department after a study found potential roadblocks for people filing complaints against officers.

The Police Conduct Oversight Commissioner requested a look at how the complaint process works after several people claimed to have trouble filing complaints against MPD officers.

The city’s Office of Police Conduct Review, which conducted the study, found in 13 of 15 cases, testers were basically turned away at the city’s precincts when filing complaints. The 4th Precinct stood out as an exception.

“The other precincts, the people got a variety of inaccurate information,” said Ryan Patrick, Police Conduct Operations Supervisor.  “They were told they had to file the complaint at the precinct where it occurred. They were told we don’t do paper forms anymore.”

Both of those claims were not true and the officers may have violated city policies in providing misleading information.

“The Minneapolis Police Department is in the process of writing a protocol based on the findings of the Police Conduct Oversight Commission,” said Officer Corey Schmidt in a statement to Fox 9.

Despite the concerns, some advocates said the report is a step forward.

“The community, in order to have trust in the police department, one of the things that it’s critical is the perception that complaints are going to be addressed,” said Teresa Nelson, Legal Director of the ACLU.

The study also found a need for improvement in people reporting complaints online and over the phone.

Officials recommend more training for 311 operators and reformatting web pages, so that the required forms can be found more easily.

The study also proposed interviewing complainants away from City Hall, to provide a less intimidating environment.

Complaints can be taken by phone, but under state law, they must be signed for it to be valid. It is a misdemeanor in Minnesota to file a false complaint against police.

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