Rybak calls for review of police actions during RNCby Brandt Williams, Minnesota Public Radio
Minneapolis — Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak wants his city's police department, civil rights department and city attorney's office to compile reports about police actions during the Republican National Convention last week.
Rybak says the convention was a success overall, but he says there are several matters that deserve a closer look. The Minneapolis City Council is also pushing for reviews.
Rybak wants the police department to conduct an 'After Action Review,' which will focus on events in Minneapolis -- in particular, the arrests which occurred after a concert by Rage Against the Machine at the Target Center on Sept. 3.
Following the show, more than 100 concert-goers and some observers were detained and arrested after they held an impromptu march through the core business district. Some alleged that the roundup of marchers was indiscriminate and included journalists.
Rybak, a former journalist himself, says it's getting harder to define who is and who isn't a journalist.
"There are many people who blog, or video blog, or who are involved in all sorts of areas who aren't as easy to identify," said Rybak. "There are also just simply incidents we always have to look out for, to make sure that journalists can do their jobs. So we want to answer those questions -- see what we learn from this case."
Rybak also wants the police department to evaluate pre-RNC training and identify any shortcomings.
The Minneapolis Police Department is also being asked to cooperate with an independent St. Paul investigation, which is being led by former U.S. Attorney Tom Heffelfinger and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Andy Luger. However, that probe will not address allegations of police misconduct.
Rybak says the city attorney's office should review the process they used to handle arrests and citations.
"We also want to keep our eyes on the cost within the criminal justice system, which, frankly, I don't feel we anticipated enough," Rybak said.
The city's civil rights department has about six months to compile and analyze any RNC-related complaints. However, right now, Rybak says no complaints have been filed.
The reports by the police department and city attorney's office are due to be completed in a month.
Next week, City Council members will have a chance to ask police officials to address some of their concerns with police actions during the RNC. In particular, they may want to know if Minneapolis police officers followed city policies while they worked in St. Paul.
Before the convention, the Council passed a resolution to clarify that police officers would not use chemical irritants or fire projectiles at protesters, unless use of force was determined to be reasonable.
- All Things Considered, 09/11/2008, 4:49 p.m.