Unclear lines of authority, says a U-S Justice Department review of Minneapolis officials’ response after protesters occupied a police station for 18 days following the Jamar Clark shooting. Report co-author Frank Straub points to a series of miscommunications or non-communications between the mayor’s office and the chief of police on tactics and operations. Straub says, “Sometimes the mayor’s office had those conversations with some of the chief’s subordinates, and I think that left the primary decision-maker in the police department sometimes out of the loop.” Straub adds elected and appointed officials were having conversations with various members of occupation groups, but in many instances the police department wasn’t aware they were going on.
But Straub indicates despite upper-level communication problems, front-line officers performed incredibly well.” He says, “They were subjected to verbal abuse,… physical abuse, rocks, Molotov cocktails and other things being thrown at them, and they showed tremendous restraint and tremendous professionalism, which I think is a credit to them as individuals but also a credit to the department.” He adds, “At the end of the day, when you look at the end result in Minneapolis as compared to other cities, it really ended in a fairly good way. There was minimal destruction of property. There was limited personal injury.” Straub says in some ways it provides an example to other cities.
Straub says the report recommends the city designate an “incident commander” for such situations in the future.
More details in this interview with Straub: