ST. PAUL, Minn. (Nov. 14, 2014) — Mayor Chris Coleman today released the following statement in response to the conclusions of the Saint Paul Police-Civilian Internal Affairs Review Commission regarding the January 31, 2014 arrest in the Saint Paul skyway.
“Today, Police Chief Tom Smith announced the findings of the Police Civilian Internal Affairs Review Commission (PCIARC) regarding an allegation of police misconduct stemming from an incident in the Saint Paul skyway system on January 31, 2014. The Commission found the allegations of misconduct to be unsubstantiated. I appreciate the hard work of the Commission members who I know took their duty and these allegations very seriously.
“The City of Saint Paul Police Civilian Internal Affairs Review Commission was established in 1993. It was the first review commission of its kind in the state and was born out of a citizen task force that included the NAACP, labor leaders, and the LGBT community. Its seven members include five citizens and two members of the Saint Paul Police Federation. The commission was created to provide citizens from diverse backgrounds with an opportunity to evaluate specific incidents and call for deeper analysis, through subpoena power and full investigative authority.
“When there is an allegation of police misconduct in the City of Saint Paul, we take the matter very seriously. I have said before, and I’ll say it again, that as Mayor of this City, I know how important it is that when the police say they are there to protect and serve, our residents know this means to protect and serve all, equally. Whenever this is questioned, it is critical that we do what we can to build and maintain that trust.
“When allegations related to the January 31st incident arose, I requested a full review by PCIARC. The Commission is an independent body and its appointed members represent diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise – from law to community organizing to business.When the Commission finds misconduct on the part of officers, it sustains the allegations. But when the Commission finds no wrongdoing, as it has in this case, their obligation is to exonerate the officers. I respect the decision and the decision of the Chief to pursue no further disciplinary action against the officers in this case.
“While some may disagree with the Commission’s findings, I ask people to consider the incredible record of police-community relations in Saint Paul. Chief Smith, like his predecessors, has worked tirelessly to build trust throughout all communities in Saint Paul. He has worked alongside the NAACP, the African-American Leadership Council and the Black Ministerial Alliance to forge relationships and respond to concerns raised within the community. The Saint Paul Police Department has also built unprecedented relationships with Somali elders and works closely with the leaders in the Hmong, Latino and Native American communities. These relationships will continue – and it is one of the reasons our police officers are so respected.
“As has been widely reported, the case is now a matter of a pending lawsuit and our City Attorney’s office will lead that effort.”