Why Minneapolis police union opposes outside investigation

  • Article by: John Delmonico
  • Updated: December 23, 2013 - 5:59 PM

It’s not that we lack confidence in the result. It’s that such a move would undermine public trust.

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mnavariceDec. 25, 13 2:32 PM

Whether the union is for or against something it is predicated solely how it will benefit its union members. It is as simple as that.

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pumiceDec. 25, 13 3:52 PM

It's hard to believe that an advocate of small, local-is-best government is in favor of big, daddy-state government "completely taking over the function of a local agency," mnavarice.

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ebfauvelDec. 25, 13 7:31 PM

"The reality is that a competent, fair and thorough investigation will always render the same result regardless of who employs the investigator."

That's debatable. Unfortunately, the reality is also that many people will always question whether a competent, fair and thorough investigation actually happened when the entity being investigated was also the one doing the investigating.

Have you never heard the phrase "conflict of interest?" Why is it so hard for you to understand that people will always distrust the findings of the police investigating themselves, especially when it is "discovered" that the police did nothing wrong?

If you really cared as much about the public trust as you claim (and as Chief Harteau clearly does), you would insist on all investigations being done by a neutral third party. Unfortunately, it sounds to me like you're more worried that your days of getting away with all kinds of questionable things may come to an end. If your good ol' boys had nothing to hide, you wouldn't be opposed to outside investigation, nor would you need such tortured "logic" to defend the status quo.

You worry about the implication that police can't be trusted. Got news for ya, buddy - the police *already* aren't trusted, especially in neighborhoods of color. If you don't understand that this won't change as long as the police investigate themselves, then there's no hope for you.

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ebfauvelDec. 25, 13 7:35 PM

"Under Minnesota law, the core functions of law enforcement — namely crime prevention, investigation, apprehension of offenders, and maintaining peace and public safety — are designed to be carried out by local government."

Investigation? Like investigating the laptop stolen from the University of Minnesota student? You know, the one that beeped its location? The Minneapolis Police were "too busy" to investigate that one (I'd like to know why) - the U police took it on. If you take your investigations of yourselves as seriously as you take the laptop investigation, no wonder no one trusts your findings.

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mandansmomDec. 25, 13 9:41 PM

Mr. Delmonico, by your logic, there would be no reason for any event occurring in any setting to be investigated externally. Corporations, hospitals, schools, churches, even government agencies would be left to investigate themselves. External investigations aren't intended to reinforce public reservations about the objectivity of internal investigations. They are necessary to validate the actions of those involved. This is especially true when people of power (police officers, teachers, clergy and people who invest other people's money) have harmed their constituents.

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jo1glexDec. 26, 1310:38 AM

Lt. Delmonico has been the adversarial voice of cynicism in the Minneapolis Police Department for a longtime. If it weren't for his efforts, there would be millions of dollars less in brutality payouts every year. Now he's arguing that allowing external investigations will harm the credibility of the MPD's ability to investigate itself? No, it's the predictable whitewashes the MPD routinely generates that harm its credibility. When any of us could write the MPD's final report before the investigation has begun, it's bad for the MPD's credibility. When the MPD manipulates the new through leaks and stonewalling and keeping cops involved in incidents incommunicado until all the stories match up, it's hard to believe them. When the reports always conclude that proper procedures were followed, even when police attack the wrong house, kill pets, shoot each other, run red lights and cause accidents or whichever lowlight of MPD's recent antics you prefer.

It's Lt. Delmonico's job to doggedly defend cops even when they do bad things. I have no problem with that. We had an adversarial system. The problem is that there's no counterbalance. There's nobody telling Delmonico to stuff it, or pointing out the illogic of his arguments. Today's piece is an insult to the intelligence of the taxpayers who pay Delmonico's salary. A good counterbalance would be to require Delmonico's cops to buy their own professional liability insurance, and to pay for any premium increases above the initial rate. Let's see him defend uninsurable cops.

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tmrichardsonDec. 26, 1312:42 PM

I'd like to add my 2 cents here as a former U of MN student and now parent of college age kids. When I read that MPD was "too busy" to track down a stolen computer that was obtained after a beating of a U of MN student--despite the intense public and legislative interest in all the crime around the U of MN lately--I was stunned. The poor kid who was brutally beaten for his laptop wasn't white. Now I am a WASP who doesn't live in the twin cities. I have no reason to fear or form an opinion of MPD based on my race. But guess how I feel about MPD now. And reading this piece just solidifies that opinion. The smell emanating from MPD is pretty strong here. If MPD union members truly care--and there is some reason here to question that given how utterly stupid and damaging this response is--maybe they need a new leader to represent them.

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timetofaceitDec. 26, 13 1:12 PM

Public trust and Unions in th esame sentence. That's FUNNY!!!!

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lawguy86Dec. 26, 13 1:49 PM

The potential for distrust that Lt. Delmonico professes concern about is already reality. That horse has already left the barn. The only realistic way to regain trust is through the neutral outside investigations that he so desperately wants to avoid. That desperation telegraphs his real concern, i.e., that neutral outside investigations will confirm that distrust is warranted.

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realityfirstDec. 26, 13 2:00 PM

Usually I would be pretty critical of anything the Minneapolis police union says but he does bring up some good points on leadership.

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