MNCOGI is suing the city of Minneapolis and various city officials to wrest free information about their “coaching” of Minneapolis police officers for policy violations.
The issue was brought violently to the fore by the murder of George Floyd. After that traumatic event, the public learned that ex-Officer Derek Chauvin had previously used the same knee-on-neck technique and that more than 20 complaints had been filed against him over the course of his Minneapolis police career. But little was known—or is known—about the substance of complaints.
Under Minnesota’s Data Practices Act, the results of an investigation of complaints or charges against public employees only become public if the employee is disciplined and the discipline becomes final. If an employee is not disciplined, the public never gets to see the details of the matter and can only learn that a complaint or charge was made against the employee and how that complaint or charge was resolved.
In MNCOGI v. City of Minneapolis, et. al., we argue that the City of Minneapolis has failed to produce public records relating to the use of “coaching” as a police disciplinary action. Documented coaching of policy violations is indistinguishable from written warnings, which Civil Service Commission Rules identify as a form of police discipline. We contend the city should not be allowed to use semantics to shroud officer misconduct.
The suit is ongoing. Most recently, the judge in the case ordered the discovery process to proceed. That has generated some important answers from the city to our questions but others remain unanswered and the case continues. Stay tuned.