Minnesota Officer Deadly Force Working Group Gives One-Year Progress Report

They group was key in the bi-partisan passing of the Minnesota Police Accountability Act of 2020.

MINNESOTA- A working group looking at ways to reduce deadly force encounters between police and citizens in Minnesota says many of their recommendations are being implemented — but there is still work to be done.

The group was organized last year by Attorney General Keith Ellison and Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington, before the killing of George Floyd under the knee of Minneapolis Police over the summer.

They were key in the bi-partisan passing of the Minnesota Police Accountability Act of 2020.

That included modifying the threshold for police use of deadly force, and creating an independent BCA unit to investigate deadly force cases involving police.

“This working group was just the beginning,” said Commissioner Harrington. “We were not gonna put a book together that would be put on the shelf and was never gonna be seen again.”

“We were going to be engaged with the legislative body to make the changes that George Floyd’s demise just highlighted that they were absolutely acute and needed to happen right away,” he said.

The group is comprised of lawmakers, law enforcement, community members and others from throughout the state.

“One of the messages from the working group is respecting the sanctity of life,” said St. Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin.

“Everyone’s life not just the person who might confront the police, but the officers life, we want everyone to get back home that night,” he said.

Attorney Rubin represents the Minnesota County Attorneys Association in the group. “One thing I really took away from it was the mental health aspect,” he said.

According to Rubin, the working group’s listening sessions with mothers of those killed by police, officers, and mental health experts will help, as four of the five officer-involved shooting incidents in the county last year involved suicidal individuals.

“The group was educated on how do we prepare, how do we train our Police Officers to recognize [someone experiencing a mental health crisis], and secondly to try to address and diffuse the situation?” said the County Attorney.

“I think it’s gonna make everybody safer. That’s my hope,” he said.

It was also announced Thursday that the Pohlad Family Foundation, the charitable arm of the owners of the Minnesota Twins, committed $3 million to help implement the group’s recommendations.

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