City council questions MPD body camera audit

- Last week, an audit showed Minneapolis police coming up short when turning their body cameras on. In fact, about a third of calls that should be recorded were not.

“Did we follow the standard process of doing the audit? Or was there fast-tracking? Did we miss some steps and not get it done as well as we should?” asked Cam Gordon with the Minneapolis City Council.

The audit of Minneapolis police use of body cameras was in fact done quickly; it was turned around in two months.

The audit was requested not long after the fatal shooting of Justine Damond

“That brought great attention to the non-usage of body cameras in that specific incident,” said audit manager Kiril Vassiliev.

The city's internal audit manager questioned as to why it was presented to them without a crucial and typical element.

“And nowhere is there a response from MPD in here,” Gordon said. “I'm trying to figure out didn't they have time? Why aren't they given a response? Why are we forwarding an incomplete audit to the state?”

The explanation was the tight deadline of reporting back to the city by last week.

“We didn't have time to get the full response from the police department,” Vassiliev said.

Minneapolis police did have time to review the audit, but only a day or two.

Questioned today, Assistant Chief Mike Kjos said there is a lot to sort through to give any context to the main findings, that too often cameras weren't recording when they should and that too often incidents are mislabeled as training when archived.

But, he did say they are working on changes.

“The one we're implementing right now is if you turn on your lights, it turns on your body camera,” he said.

Police now have two months to formally respond to the audit finding. Some council members believe police could have said more.

“To the extent they didn't get to review it? I think that's false; they got a chance to review it. Did they have time to respond?  I would say yes, and I would say did they have a two week period? Probably not, but they did have a chance to respond and could have put the brakes on certain things, and they didn't,” said Blong Yang with the Minneapolis City Council.


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