MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A new report details a plan to reduce deadly force encounters involving police in Minnesota.
In the last five years there have been more than 100 deadly-force encounters involving law enforcement.
The issue prompted the formation of a working group to come up with recommendations to reduce these encounters.
Clarence Castile, one of 16 members on the group, said he’s grateful for a new recommendation to research and evaluate police body cameras, that would encourage legislators to fund statewide implementation if they’re proven effective in reducing deadly force encounters.
“The fact is we have to start somewhere,” Castile said. “But hopefully in the future we can mandate something like that.”
Clarence’s nephew, Philando Castile, was shot and killed in 2016 during a routine traffic stop in Falcon Heights.
The working group is made up of law enforcement, mental-health professionals, criminal justice stakeholders, and community members impacted by deadly force. It’s under the direction of Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.
“No state in the United States has brought together the attorney general, the commissioner of public safety who is a top level appointee of the Governor to talk about how to deal with deadly force encounters,” attorney general Ellison said. ‘This is new, this is ground breaking.”
Six months of public hearings and listening sessions created agreed-upon 28 recommendations and 33 action steps, that include training law enforcement in de-escalation skills, creating a specialized unit in the BCA to investigate officer involved shootings, and expanding resources to improve the mental health of first responders.
Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson spoke on behalf of law enforcement on the working group, saying they were concerned about some of the recommendations.
“That said we have always been and will continue to be willing to work with lawmakers, stake holders, and community members to find new ways to make our state a safer place for everyone,” Sheriff Torgerson said.