We are the metro region that is home to many world-renowned technology companies, including Seagate, Micron, and Cray, the Supercomputer company.
So instead of having our police department looking like something out of 1984 when it comes to open video records, how about we do something like Seattle and hire some of the people that make public records requests.
You might even find out that there are a few amateur politicians who raised the issue in the last mayoral election. In fact, you might even find someone who’s built a few supercomputers. Let’s engage our technology industry and hacker community to enable public review and accountability for video footage recorded on behalf of the public good. This is a growth industry for the world, and we can follow Seattle, or lead the world, and create a lot of good high paying jobs in the process.
This friday I went over to KFAI because they, unlike most other news outlets, are actually trying to cover all 35 mayoral candidates by interviewing all of them. One of the questions asked was about the controversy of the behavior of off-duty police officers in Green Bay. I didn’t know enough of the details to say anything specific, but after further discussion at the Independence Party Issues Caucus discussion at the Nokomis Library on Saturday, I have a rather strong opinion.
What an officer does in their own time, off-duty, when we are not paying them to represent and serve the city of Minneapolis is their own damn business, and none of my business as a politician or as Mayor.
Now, what IS my (and your) business is the recorded documentation, complaints, and public records that include information, video, or audio recordings of the officers on duty. And what’s critical here is that all police cameras (and I would further say any publicly owned camera in the city limits) MUST be available for citizens of Minneapolis to immediately request that video be posted on the city website. (Btw, this also includes any covert surveillance cameras funded by tax money… Here’s looking at you NSA. So if you can find evidence of a camera that has some public ownership or tax money that funds it, then I will direct the Minneapolis police to confiscate it, or ensure video can be immediately posted on the city website on citizen request)
So, back to the police.. if a city employee does something stupid off duty, then I might have a private conversation with the officer why this looks bad on future performance reviews. But if you, the public, hear about something stupid done in private, and then bring to my attention something in the public record that documents a pattern of behavior unbecoming Minneapolis’s Finest, or a dereliction of duty to uphold the law and serve the residents of Minneapolis, then the offender will no longer represent the city.