Brooklyn Park, Minn. (July 15, 2013) — Communities United Against Police Brutality, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit that works to organize resistance to abuse of authority by police organizations, addressed concerns regarding the former Metro Gang Strike Task Force and the Brooklyn Park Police Department at a recent conference
The final monetary settlements for law suits against the former Metro Gang Strike Task Force were awarded on On July 23, 2012. The folloling day the Brooklyn Park Police Department self-initiated an administrative investigation into the allegations of misconduct, alleged to have occurred in 2007 and 2008, as outlined in the Special Masters Report against then Detective Burstad.
While no complaints had been filed with the Brooklyn Park Police Department, command personnel decided that the police department would act as the initial complainant and start an administrative investigation. Administrative Investigation 12-05 was assigned to Two Police Inspectors and a Police Lieutenant. Over the next two weeks, several unsuccessful attempts were made to contact the individuals identified in the Special Masters report.
On August 10, 2012 certified letters were sent to each person advising them of the existence of the investigation and requested that they respond.
On August 22, 2012 a Deputy Chief received a phone call from Michelle Gross stating she was the head of a Minneapolis based organization called Communities United against Police Brutality. Gross stated that she was aware that the police department had sent letters to participants in the class action law suit and that she had advised them not to respond without her help. She stated that she would be helping them with their complaints. Gross stated that she would stop by the police department later that night to drop off a list of 22 complaints against Burstad.
That evening, Gross arrived at the police department with a number of associates, including Attorney Phil Johnson who videotaped the event. Gross delivered a letter and information copied from the Special Master report that she said was to serve as the complaint information.
Over the course of nine months, police command staff investigated accusations made by the complainants. During this time, Sergeant Burstad was placed on Administrative Leave.
After collecting each complainant’s version of events and examining all available information, police investigators determined that 106 potential policy violations were alleged to have occurred. After months of in-depth investigation, eight of the allegations were found to have sufficient merit to be sustained or sustained with qualifications.
Consistent with the police department’s written procedures, two Deputy Chief’s reviewed all of the information collected. The investigation review panel recommended that Burstad be disciplined for his conduct. It was the recommendation of investigative panel, Deputy Chief Jeff Ankerfelt and Deputy Chief Craig Enevoldsen that Sergeant Greg Burstad be suspended for 5 days (40 hours) without pay. Sergeant Burstad served his suspension and has returned to duty.
Since leaving the GSF in 2009, no complaints of misconduct have been received from the public or Police Personnel about Sergeant Burstad. Since 2009, Burstad has generated or participated in approximately 1,500 incidents without complaint.
A highly decorated patrol officer and detective, Burstad has been admired for his ability to build trusting relationships with community members and in particular, the minority community and at-risk youth. Using this skill to the communities benefit, Burstad has routinely and appropriately used the information he has derived from these relationships, and his authority as a police officer, to prevent violence, solve crimes, and comfort victims. For example, he has been a leader in the department in trying to improve relationships between the police department and the immigrant and minority communities that we serve.
In 2005 the police department created the Joint Community Police Partnership (JCPP), a program designed to improve relationships between the police officers, immigrant, and minority communities. As a patrol officer, and later as a Detective in the GSF, Burstad was and has continued to be the most active officer in the department in his support of the goals of the JCPP.
Whether on duty or coming in during his days off, Burstad has visited with hundreds of immigrants who have been afraid of the police and has helped them feel welcome and supported in Brooklyn Park. This has helped immigrants and minorities to overcome their fear of the police allowing them to more quickly integrate into the community. As a result of his work and commitment to improve lives, Burstad was promoted to Sergeant in 2010 and placed in charge of the newly developed Community Response Unit.
Since his promotion, he has successfully led the department’s efforts to reduce juvenile crime and rapidly solve violent crimes committed by gang members. Burstad and his unit have been recognized on a number of occasions for their work.
Several years have passed since Burstad was involved in the failures outlined in this investigation. He has since helped our department develop gang reduction and youth violence prevention efforts that have been progressive, well managed, and professionally competent.
Contact Communities United Against Police Brutality with its 24-Hour Hotline at 612-874-STOP (612-874-7867) and visit online at www.cuapb.org.