The Systems That Protect the Police

My eyes are more open, my ears attuned more finely – to the structural issues this podcast episode lays bare in the Minneapolis Police Department and associated entities. Michael Barbaro interviews Shaila Dewan. I took notes as I listened, and will share the summary here of the 5 factors affecting justice. It is worth a listen, but here are my notes from the last section on factors that keep the ‘entrenched architecture’ in place.

1.) Police police themselves.

2.) AppealsPolice can appeal charges and win a full 46% of the time in Minneapolis when they do so. Lawyers use ‘prior examples of leniency’ as the basis for such appeals, among others. Precedence is used in many cases of the law, and this doesn’t bode well if we can’t undo that ‘legal’ justification.

3.) Civilian Review Panels– a small group that reviews public complaints and influence whether an investigation and findings are forwarded to the Police Chief. However, in Minneapolis, the Police Conduct Review Panel consists of two civilians and two sworn panelists appointed by the Chief of Police and most public complaints are ignored. Only 12 of 2600 resulted in any disciplinary action, according to the interview. I couldn’t find this statistic on the data portion of their website. What I did find was illuminating. Data is not up to date. There is also little context to help make meaning of the numbers. The number of cases that have been on the desk of the Police Chief more than 90 days is close to 50. There are over 400 disciplinary cases open with Violation of Policy or Procedure, Inappropriate Language or Attitude, or Failure to Provide Protection listed as the top reasons. While one can see Dismissals as an outcome and there are quite a few, Shaila Dewan notes that dismissals are often reversed, but I couldn’t find that data on the website.

4.) Police Unions – Bob Kroll is a buddy of Donald Trumps and heads up the Minneapolis police union and resists any idea of reform. Twenty nine complaints about the Police Union itself have gone unheeded. Need we say more? This is not unique to Minneapolis.

5.) Lived Experience of a Police Officer – Police argue that their jobs inherent nature is one ridden with dangers. If they can use a legal argument of “reasonable fear” as a presupposed state of mind for any actions they take, then a Jury cannot convict them. Police feel that the public can’t possibly understand what is like to be in the line of duty.

What do you know now? Will inform what you do next?

Explore posts in the same categories: Justice

2 Comments on “The Systems That Protect the Police”

  1. […] How the 'we' works in a complex changing world. « The Systems That Protect the Police […]


  2. Andrea Chiou Says:

    A Legal Doctrine That Protects Cops In Court Is Getting Fresh Attention As Videos Surface Showing Police Violence


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