The Minneapolis Police Conduct Oversight Commission says that the department’s practice of “coaching,” a form of one-on-one mentoring that the Minneapolis Police Department uses to deal with low-level rule violations — so low, according to the Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office, that it doesn’t qualify as real discipline, as a loophole to keep police misconduct records away from the public eye, reports the Herald Mail Media. Under Minnesota law, disciplinary records for police officers must be made available to the public. The city classifies coaching records as private data.
The debate over coaching began last summer, as the city turned its focus on rebuilding community trust in the aftermath of rioting over the police killing of George Floyd. In 2021, several members of the Minneapolis Police Conduct Oversight Commission say they will renew the push for the city attorney to reclassify these records as public in an effort to make the department more transparent.
Coaching is by far the most common outcome for substantiated police misconduct, and making these records public would unlock hundreds of records containing detailed complaints against Minneapolis police officers.
“Police aren’t to be held to a lower standard of expectations. But yet they are,” said Cynthia Jackson, a social worker recently appointed to the commission. “It’s mind boggling to me.”