ST. PAUL — Police departments around the state have been asked for answers about their practices and pressed to make changes in some places following the death of George Floyd.
The Minnesota Legislature has been unable to reach a deal on policing law re-writes as Democrat and Republican leaders are at an impasse on police arbitration. And other reforms that had bipartisan support have been bogged down in negotiations about a set of other measures last month.
Without statewide guidance about what should change, local law enforcement groups around the state have weighed changes in the weeks since ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck for nearly eight minutes as he called out for help. Floyd was later transported to a hospital where he died.
The Minneapolis Police Department didn't immediately mention the unauthorized hold that killed Floyd in its report about the incident.
As lawmakers have split on an appropriate reaction, local departments around the state have opened up about their practices and some have changed their policies around chokeholds and review of body cameras. In other areas, the killing has spurred another review of the rules governing police and peace officers.
In Minneapolis, the police department has banned the use of chokeholds and set in place a policy requiring officers to write a police report following deadly instances without first reviewing body cam video.
Beginning Tuesday, June 30, Minneapolis police officers will not be allowed to review body camera footage before writing an initial report about a critical incident. The change is intended to help better capture an officer's impressions of the incident and what led to it. Police Chief Medaria Arradondo and Mayor Jacob Frey announced the change Sunday, June 28, and said additional changes to police training would be on the way following Floyd's killing.
“The new standards align expectations for officers involved in critical incidents with the rules for civilian subjects, who are not allowed to watch body camera footage for an incident in which they may be a potential suspect in Minneapolis and in most police departments in the country,” Arradondo said. “The policies also restrict consultation with certain representatives immediately following a critical incident and clarify time requirements for reporting.”
East Grand Forks last month adopted a similar policy change around restraints as they banned practices that obstruct a person's nose or mouth or that restrict their breathing. Officers are also required to get someone sitting or standing upright as soon as they are restrained.
Rochester is set to pursue a review of its policing practices and put forth recommendations for reforms. The Rochester Police Policy Oversight Commission this month is set to suggest changes to the police department's policies around use of force, handcuffing and restraints.
"I know that’s a heavy lift, but I’m asking you to do that,” Rochester Mayor Kim Norton told the commission last month.
In other areas, the killing fueled a call for more transparency around policing practices, use of force policies and body camera use. As part of those calls for additional information about the practices, Fargo and Moorhead police chiefs said they don't plan to outlaw chokeholds or vascular neck restraints. But they don't teach the holds as part of police training now, the chiefs told The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.