Minneapolis city councilmembers upset with slow review of city's response to 2020 unrest

Frustrations are growing at the Minneapolis City Hall over a review of how the police department and the city handled the aftermath of the death of George Floyd.

A final report and its recommendations aren’t due until January of next year but some city councilmembers say that's too long to wait.

"We're at risk for a repeat of some of the things that happened after MPD killed George Floyd, after the city’s response to the protests and all that followed," said Council President Lisa Bender.

Bender joined a couple of her colleagues in voicing frustration over the amount of time needed to complete an after-action review of Minneapolis’ response to the unrest that overwhelmed the city in May of last year.

"And I'll just kind of share my disappointment with how long it's taking and I don't know what we could do to speed up the process at all," said Councilmember Gordon.

The city hired an outside consultant to come in and assess what the city got right and what went wrong in the hours and days following Floyd’s murder. In terms of police response, protection of life, property, and 1st Amendment rights along with communication and organization.

"Our focus is going to be looking at how well did you plan and how did you handle the kind of command and control and the communications," said Robert Boehmer with Jensen Hughes Consultants.

The consulting team briefed a council committee about its work so far at a virtual meeting. More than 90 interviews were completed with Minneapolis police, fire, and other department officials, thousands of pages of internal documents received, a review underway of hours of body camera footage, but no solid findings or recommendations as of yet. The fact that the report won’t be available until January of 2022 is a concern for some councilmembers.

"What if history repeats itself in the interim?" asked Bender.

"The police kill people in our city with some frequency," Bender continued. "And so it's possible that between now and the end of the report, a person will be killed by our police department. But I'm not convinced that we have the tools in place to do a better job of responding as a city."
One area of emphasis councilmembers asked about was the mutual aid response including the eventual deployment of the National Guard.

The consultants said Thursday that communication will be a top priority of their review, but acknowledged that it is unclear how forthcoming the state and other entities will be given this is a Minneapolis-funded effort.