The Minneapolis Civilian Police Review Authority (CRA) has invited the public to attend a forum addressing the Police Department’s Taser® policy and the question of when and how changes are made to the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) Policy and Procedure Manual. Board members will explain the history of and differences between the former and current policies for the use of Conducted Energy Devices (CEDs, the generic term for Tasers). After the presentations, the CRA will invite public comment on the current CED policy, and when and how changes should be made to the MPD’s policy and procedure manual.
The public forum will be held on Wednesday, July 15, at 6:30 pm at the City Hall, 350 S. 5th St., Room 319, Mpls and comes one week before the City Council’s Public Safety and Regulatory Services Committee will consider measures to govern how changes are made to the MPD’s Policy and Procedure Manual. The manual provides the standard of conduct that both the MPD’s Internal Affairs Unit and the CRA look to when determining if police officers committed acts of misconduct.
The City Council debate and CRA forum are in response to MPD changing their 2006 CED policy without notice to City Council. The police department’s adoption of the 2006 CED policy was required as part of the City Council’s approval of MPD’s purchase of 160 new Taser® CEDs. That policy contained specific directives, such as only one officer should activate a Taser against a person at a time, and restrictions on employing Tasers on passive subjects, children, visibly frail persons, pregnant women, etc. The MPD changed that policy on August 17, 2007, apparently giving officers much greater discretion in the use of CEDs. The CRA Board has recommended a return to the policy adopted in 2006.
Community organizers are encouraging member of the community to attend the meeting to demand a return to a Taser policy that would have prevented the death of people like Quincy Smith (who died when tased by five cops simultaneously) or, better yet, an outright ban on Tasers, which Amnesty International refers to as “the perfect torture device.”