The City of Minneapolis has settled a lawsuit with the group Communities United Against Police Brutality. CUAPB claimed that the city violated state law by failing to provide public information on police actions in a timely fashion. In one case, the city did not provide documentation of complaints against officers for two years.
Tiffany Bui reports:
The City of Minneapolis has settled a lawsuit with the group Communities United Against Police Brutality for $22,500. CUAPB claimed that the city violated state law by failing to provide public information on police actions in a timely fashion. In one case, the city did not provide documentation of complaints against officers for two years.
CUAPB’s attorney Paul Bosman said the organization regularly requests records following a police shooting to learn what really happened, rather than rely on the police narrative.
“Every time the police shot somebody, we would the next day, put in a request that said, ‘Okay, so tell me who the officer is, tell me what weapons were used. Tell me why this happened. And tell me what happened,’” explained Bosman. “And the police would release a statement that, you know, the officers didn’t have any choice. They would never tell you who the officers were. But they’d always tell you who the victim was, show a picture of him in an orange jumpsuit… or something that made him look like the bad guy.”
Bosman said it was important for CUAPB to receive public records as soon as possible, before the news media moved on from the police shooting and for the families of victims. In instances where organizers received no city response, they would bring a lawsuit to force Minneapolis to comply.
One of the records the organization obtained through the lawsuit revealed that a Minneapolis police officer body checked a student while working as a school resource officer in 2010. He later lied about injuring her, claiming it was an accident. His account was disputed by video footage and a hall monitor.
“The officer lied about it. If it hadn’t been for the hall monitor, hadn’t been for the video, would he have gotten away with it? Likely,” said Bosman. “And because of the staff member and the video camera, that officer often no longer works for the MPD. But it’s hard to make people believe those kinds of things go on if they don’t ever get to hear them.”
When asked for comment about the settlement, the city attorney said in a statement that Minneapolis makes data available online when possible. The city attorney further said the city tries to process data requests as quickly as possible.
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