Michael Friedman, who heads the citizen group that invesitigates cop complaints, will stay on the board
took over as chair of the Civilian Review Authority
more than two years ago, Michael Friedman
has been stuck in one of the most unenviable tasks in Minneapolis city politics: Establishing the civilian board as a place where complaints against alleged police misconduct are taken seriously.
has found himself pushing against an indifferent city council, mayor and police chief.The CRA
hasn't had a stellar track record in investigating or sustaining complaints, but Friedman
has been unwavering in his
belief that such a board is needed, if for no other reason than to give citizens somewhere outside of City Hall to go when they feel they've been wronged by the cops.
True to his
character, Friedman's stepping down to avoid the appearance of any conflict of interest.
...That was borne out in two pieces that were published in yesterday's edition of the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, and by a City Pages interview earlier this morning with civilian review authority board chair Michael Friedman.
...A second Spokesman-Recorder article was authored by Friedman, who was appointed two years ago to chair the CRA board.
leadership, the CRA
has regained some credibility for taking an active interest in civilian complaints against the MPD
.Friedman's article notes that during his
tenure, the CRA
has sent numerous letters to the MPD brass "detailing training or policy matters that need to be looked into," and summarizes the gist of those concerns in eight bullet points.One deals with "officers not understanding what behavior constitutes Disorderly Conduct against a police officer as determined by Minnesota courts."Another wonders about "Police reports regarding use of force that are inconsistent with documented injury."Still others relate to the use of tasers, domestic abuse complaints, and the racial tension that might arise for arresting someone for spitting on the sidewalk."
writes, "the MPD
has chosen not to provide any feedback to CRA
on any of the issues raised."
In an interview with City
Pages this morning, Friedman
says that he
had attended yesterday's public safety committee meeting at City Hall, where citizens objected to Arradondo's removal and the general state of police-community relations."What was most striking to me was that some of the things the community members were saying echoed my own experience with the CRA
says."There seems to be an aversion within the police department for accepting anybody's input on anything, at least as far as management is concerned.We aren't claiming to have expertise, but when we see problems leading to citizen dissatisfaction it is our role to bring that to the police and promote a dialogue.But there is such a denial from the police administration that the CRA
is legitimate, that it is like a political stone wall.
"Chief McManus designated [deputy chief] Don Harris as being the only one to deal with us, and Harris doesn't respond to us," Friedman