MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - One year after initially receiving an after-action report detailing the city and state’s collective response to the George Floyd protest and riots, Minneapolis city leaders outlined efforts to ensure the systemic communication failures found could be prevented in future events.
"This is about learning from our mistakes and making sure we’re prepared when emergency strikes, and making sure our lines of communication are open. We’re not ignoring the reality of what happened. In fact, we are recognizing it," Mayor Jacob Frey said Thursday in a news conference. "The next time something goes down, we will be prepared as a city."
On March 8, 2022, the Minneapolis City Council received an after-action report on the city's response to the protests and riots in Minneapolis following the murder of George Floyd.
Conducted by an independent firm, the report detailed the city's failures that resulted in the loss of the Minneapolis Police Department’s third precinct, and hundreds of small businesses along Lake Street. Following its release, FOX 9 detailed three key takeaways and findings.
The after-action review was highly critical of the way Mayor Frey and city hall functioned, citing disarray, confusion among department heads over leadership structure particularly at the Minneapolis Police Department, as well as the delayed deployment of the National Guard. Mayor Frey promised major improvements have been made in the years since, but the work to improve is ongoing.
"We could be fully, 100% prepared with a full plan in place and still be overwhelmed," said Frey.
After reviewing more than 30 hours of body-cam footage and conducting interviews with dozens of officers, the report concluded that rank-and-file officers responding to the unrest not only lacked clear orders or communication from command staff, they also "were not provided with consistent rules of engagement or control," especially as it concerned the use of "less-lethal" rounds and chemical munitions.
In response, the city launched the National Incident Management System Reset (NIMS) project in 2022 designed to, "improve the city’s ability to use its incident Command Center, Emergency Operations Center, Joint Information System and multi-agency groups to manage complex incidents."
Run by the Federal Government and FEMA, Frey hopes an Integrated Emergency Management Course will be held in 2024. Implementation of NIMS is the first of five strategies that city leaders will use to correct the city’s response systems.
The report provided 27 recommendations to improve upon, Mayor Frey reported the city has already successfully completed 17 of those recommendations with the other 10 currently in progress.
Another area of improvement has been the change to the "strong Mayor" system of executive powers that provides a clearer direction of authority for departments, Frey said on Thursday.