New Hope Lawmaker Authors Bill to Reform Police Oversight, Increase Community Trust
The officer-involved shooting of Amir Locke in Minneapolis provided the backdrop for a state legislative discussion Friday on improving public safety and community trust with police. The discussion centered around a public safety bill in which state Rep. Cedrick Frazier, DFL-New Hope, is the chief author.
The bill, HF 2724, includes increasing the authority of the Minnesota POST Board, which oversees the licensing of police officers. Under the bill, the POST Board could remove an officer’s license for criminal conduct that does not result in a conviction.
Another piece would allow local units of government to establish a civilian oversight council, which could make findings of fact to impose discipline on officers. Frazier calls that a critical piece.
“This article is an essential piece of this bill because we can’t implement innovative strategies without the confidence and trust of the community,” said Frazier. “That confidence and trust from the community will make the jobs of our officers easier, and in turn, make our communities safer.”
The bill would also add additional requirements for police bodycam policies. It would require the showing of video no later than seven days of incidents using lethal force to impacted families or next of kin.
Amity Dimock, the mother of Kobe Dimock-Heisler, spoke during the hearing. Her son was on the autism spectrum and was shot and killed by police after a family crisis 911 call in Brooklyn Center on Aug. 31, 2019. She says the bill should provide families of such incidents quicker access to video.
“In the George Floyd case, the Daunte Wright case, and now in the Amir Locke case, officials were able to present the body-worn cameras within 24-48 hours due to public pressure. I don’t think any family should rely on public pressure to rely on getting videos early,” said Dimock.
The discussion took place before the House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance and Policy Committee. State Rep. Ginny Klevorn, DFL-Plymouth, and Rep. Samantha Vang, DFL-Brooklyn Center, also serve on the committee.
The bill will receive further discussion and includes legislation similar to what was passed last year in a House public safety omnibus bill. There is no legislative companion in the Republican-led Minnesota Senate.