Brooklyn Center safety committee proposes banning traffic stops for minor violations

Brooklyn Center police would no longer be able to stop motorists driving with expired tabs or minor equipment violations on the recommendations of a committee formed in response to recent police killings of two unarmed black men .

City officials created the Community Safety and Violence Prevention Implementation Committee following the fatal police shootings of Daunte Wright and Kobe Dimock-Heisler. Wright was killed in a traffic stop in 2021 and Dimock-Heisler at home in 2019.

The city council last year passed a series of reforms to remake the police department after the shooting, including forming the committee, which has been working for months on recommendations to change police policies.

“The main thing is to prevent us from having any further incidents of death or injury,” committee member John Solomon said during a presentation to council on Tuesday. “We hope you recognize the importance of this breakthrough.”

The council voted unanimously to accept the report, but took no further action.

Calls to new police chief Kellace McDaniel seeking comment on the proposal had gone unreturned as of Wednesday afternoon.

Under the proposal, officers would no longer be able to stop drivers solely for violations such as inoperative windshield wipers, cracked windshield, excessive window tint, loud muffler, license plate or an incorrectly displayed or expired license sticker, or for having broken or improperly used headlights, taillights or turn signals.

The committee presented data that showed nationally that 67% of those arrested for these violations were people of color.

Police would still be able to arrest drivers for dangerous activities, such as reckless driving and speeding, or if a vehicle’s equipment exhibits an unsafe condition.

In Brooklyn Center, the total number of traffic stops has risen from just under 10,000 in 2010 to just under 2,500 in 2021. City data presented by the committee showed that of those stops , only 17% resulted in a citation, the majority of which for driving license and insurance. offences.

“It’s important that we focus on bigger things,” like violent crime, Solomon said. “Excessive stops for minor equipment problems are eroding community confidence in law enforcement.”

Changes similar to those proposed at Brooklyn Center have been adopted in Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Lansing, Michigan and the state of Virginia.

Julia Gibson Reeves, religious leader of Praise Chapel International, urged the council to accept and implement the recommendations.

“The sooner we do this, the better,” she said Tuesday. “We don’t need to attend meetings and work sessions to understand this. Now is the time to act and save lives.”

The committee also recommended that police can no longer ask drivers to consent to a search of a vehicle during a traffic stop unless there is probable cause that the motorist is linked to a crime and that evidence exists.

“There are times when people think they can’t say no,” said council member April Graves, who is running for mayor.

Such searches are harmful because they undermine trust in the police, committee members said, and there is no evidence that searches make the community safer. They pointed to a Police1 magazine article that found “limited effectiveness in identifying evidence of illegal firearms or other serious crimes” during consent searches.

The committee also featured an article from an October 2021 issue of the Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice that showed that black drivers were twice as likely as other drivers to have an officer ask for consent to search them when driving. a stoppage for a movement infraction.

Council member Kris Lawrence-Anderson said she hoped to get more input from the public, police and legal experts before the council officially votes on the plan.

“I know your heart is in this,” she said.

About Stephen Ewing

Check Also

Shannon Bird and Emily Sirota appointed to influential budget committee | Elections

House Speaker-elect Julie McCluskie on Sunday named Representatives Shannon Bird of Westminster and Emily Sirota …