Brooklyn Center City Council to discuss policing changes in weekend meeting

A Brooklyn Center Police Department squad vehicle.

The Brooklyn Center mayor and families impacted by police violence are pushing for swift action to reimagine public safety, but police unions and law enforcement groups are urging community leaders to take time to reconsider some of the current proposals.

Amity Dimock’s son Kobe Dimock-Heisler was killed by Brooklyn Center police nearly two years ago.

"The momentum and collective desire to get this done across the nation is now," said Dimock.  

She believes the officers who responded to the call were not properly trained to handle the 21-year old’s mental health needs and escalated the situation. Dimock-Heisler, who was also on the autism spectrum, had gotten his hands on a knife inside his grandparents’ home when the police fired.

"There’s not many things I am sure about in life, but I am 100% sure that my son would still be alive if say, the mental health part of the resolution had already been implemented," said Dimock.

Dimock is fully supportive of the police reform proposal put forth recently by Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott. In fact, the package bears Kobe’s name as well as Daunte Wright, the young man shot to death last month during a traffic stop where an officer apparently mistook her gun for her Taser.

Mayor Elliott’s sweeping plan calls for the creation of a new Department of Community Safety and Violence to include unarmed civilian traffic enforcement and mental health response divisions.  

The proposal was discussed at a public meeting last weekend and the council is scheduled to take it up again on Saturday. Some of the state’s largest police unions and law enforcement groups are concerned about the potential overhaul of the Brooklyn Center Police Department while not giving them a voice in the debate.

"It appears we are rushing to get significant change in, and anytime you rush with significant change, you are probably going to have significant failure," said Jim Mortenson of Law Enforcement Labor Services.

"You’ve got people putting this document together that know nothing about how the Brooklyn Center Police Department operates," added Mortenson. "So to not have any consultations with them and come up with such drastic resolutions to be voted on is mind-boggling to me."

Saturday’s meeting is will be held at the Earle Brown Heritage Center at 3 p.m. It’s not clear whether the council will take a formal vote. City leaders have said it’s only a resolution with conversations, discussions and debates to continue over implementing the police reform package.

According to a memo from the Brooklyn Center City Attorney to the acting city manager, if the act gets passed, policies outlined within it can still be further developed.