Mayor Hodges’ Statement on the One-Year Anniversary of the Death of Jamar Clark
November 14, 2016 (MINNEAPOLIS) — Mayor Hodges made the following statement this evening:
Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of the death of Jamar Clark. At this painful time, I offer my condolences to his family, friends, loved ones, and community for the grief, trauma, and heartbreak they have endured.
The shooting itself, and the aftermath of it, caused all of us to ask questions over the last year about who we are as a people and a city, and where we want to go together.
I know — we know — that police-community relations in Minneapolis have been in need of transformation for long time, much longer than the past year. Especially in, for, and with communities of color.
I have taken the opportunity of this year to listen, take stock, and take action. In this time, we have done much work at the City of Minneapolis, in partnership with community, to continue the work that we began well before November 15 of last year, and to accelerate this transformation. That work, some of which responds to years of community requests, includes:
• Policy revision — Chief Harteau and the Minneapolis Police Department revised department policy to emphasize the sanctity of life and de-escalation in the use of force, and to require officers to intervene and report when they see inappropriate or unreasonable force applied.
• Body cameras — After a three-year process of testing and evaluation, officers and supervisors across the city have now been trained and outfitted with body-worn cameras. Body camera policy was developed with extensive community input.
• Procedural justice — All police officers have been trained in procedural justice, to improve the quality of interactions between officers and residents. Few, if any, other police departments in the country have undergone this training, which Chief Harteau and I sought out.
• Implicit bias — By the end of 2016, all Minneapolis police officers will complete implicit bias training.
• Filing complaints — We have increased transparency and accessibility in filing and tracking police complaints.
• Empathy and healing sessions — As part of the racial-reconciliation pillar of the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice, Chief Harteau and her staff are working with community leaders to conduct empathy and healing sessions on a monthly basis. These sessions focus on acknowledging and apologizing for the history of troubled police–community relations and addressing how it plays a role in current police–community relations. Chief Harteau is the first and only chief in the country to do this important work.
I am proud that no other city in America is putting more resources on the line, changing more policy, and transforming itself more fundamentally than we are. There is also much more to do. I am grateful for everyone who reminds me, regularly and insistently, that important work remains.
Here in Minneapolis, as across the country, we are in the midst of a much-needed and long-overdue conversation about police–community relations, trust, and race. This conversation provokes discomfort — or rather, it more equally distributes to white people the discomfort that people of color have disproportionately felt about police–community relations for a long time.
I am proud that Minneapolis is leading the nation in this challenging and necessary conversation. I thank everyone in every neighborhood and community who has contributed to it peacefully and respectfully. I also want to thank our police officers, who in addition to contributing to this conversation, make the choice every day to serve our communities and work hard to keep us safe. As we keep the conversation moving forward, let us acknowledge and respect each other's full humanity and good will, even — or especially — when the conversation turns difficult.
As I said earlier this year, and is important to repeat: in Minneapolis, one of our greatest strengths as a people is that we put aside our differences and our fears to come together for the common good. This is why I know that we can have these difficult conversations, feel this discomfort, and come together through it all to find solutions that benefit all of us. Yes, change is hard and yes, there is more to do. But we are sticking with it, for the good and the humanity of all of us. There is no going back.
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Published Nov 14, 2016