MINNEAPOLIS – The Minneapolis Police Department is changing its policy on reporting use of force incidents to require that officers document their attempts to de-escalate a situation in all incidents, whether or not they end with force being used, the mayor and police chief announced Tuesday.
The change, announced amid calls for widespread police reforms following the May 25 death of George Floyd, is designed to place a greater emphasis on de-escalation and curb excessive use of force, Mayor Jacob Frey said in a statement. Besides requiring that officers report de-escalation attempts, the new policy expands requirements for reporting use of force incidents across the board and orders that officers provide more detail.
“These comprehensive reporting requirements will help reinforce de-escalation as the first resort, increase accountability where de-escalation is an after-thought, and provide improved data to head off problematic interactions before they happen," Frey said.
The changes take effect Friday.
Floyd, a Black man who was handcuffed, died after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for nearly 8 minutes as Floyd said he couldn’t breathe. Chauvin is charged with murder and manslaughter, and three other officers are charged with aiding and abetting. All four officers were fired.
Floyd's death sparked protests in Minneapolis and beyond and led to calls for an end to police brutality and racial inequities.
Frey and Chief Medaria Arradondo have said they’re committed to deep structural change in the police department, but they oppose abolishing it entirely. The announcement on the policy change came a day before the city's charter commission planned to take public comment on a City Council proposal to dismantle the department and replace it with a new agency that has a more holistic approach.
It also came as Ben Crump, an attorney for members of Floyd's family, announced he will file a lawsuit against the city and police officers on Wednesday.
Frey and Arradondo said Tuesday that the new policy raises department standards for use of force documentation, reporting and the notification of supervisors.
Prior to the new policy, there were no reporting requirements for techniques such as arm bars, wrist locks, drawing a firearm or using handcuffs, they said. Now, officers will be required to outline their attempts to de-escalate a situation, and provide written rationale that describes the force used and why that level of force was used.
Officers will also be required to document if there was an injury, and if medical aid was given and by whom. And officers using authorized takedown techniques or chemical agents will also now be required to follow the same documentation and reporting requirements, as well as tell a supervisor.
Arradondo said the new changes will “play a key role in our efforts in building trust and legitimacy with all those we serve.”