Who Will Police the Police?

Critics claim the MPD won't play nicely; Cops say it's a bad beat

Anderson, in fact, doesn't place blame with the police chief. The chief reports directly to the mayor, he points out, and R.T. Rybak, according to Anderson, has "been disengaged from the whole process."

"We haven't seen leadership from the city at all," Anderson continues, adding that the PCRC wrote a letter to Rybak earlier this year detailing concerns that the mediation agreement was going nowhere. "We didn't hear back for two months."

Rybak, for his part, notes that there has been a "communication breakdown attributable to all sides, and I'll take some of the blame for that.

"We are making progress," the mayor continues, claiming that two years into a five-year agreement, the city and police have at least started some action on two-thirds of the many points outlined in the agreement. He points to the coordination with community specialists when screening new officers for "psychological health," for example. Still, he concedes there are "serious problems within PCRC."

In past interviews, Rybak has said that he didn't think too much about the concept of federal mediation. Now he seems to have had a wake-up call of some sort. "I need to take more of an active role," Ryback concedes. "Remember that in the PCRC agreement, the mayor is an observer, not a participant. That's by design, so the work between the community and the police isn't tainted by the political process. That spirit needs to remain, but I am playing a more active role."

Anderson says that the original mediator, Campbell Glenn, came to town to negotiate with both sides in August--three years after she first came to Minneapolis. Grievances were aired, but it wasn't clear what action Glenn might take.

If progress isn't made on following the agreement, Anderson notes, there are "sanctions" that could be placed on the mayor, the chief, or even city department heads. Ultimately, the DOJ could end up overseeing parts of the MPD--a process known as "receivership"--until there is compliance.

"That's not something anybody wants," Anderson says. "We'd rather the city try to fulfill its end of the agreement, so we can start addressing these intractable problems with the MPD. How can you approve an agreement and then not follow it?"

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