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POST Board can now strip officers of their licenses without conviction

POST Board member Kelly McCarthy talks to reporters about a measure to bar law enforcement offciers from hate groups on Dec. 9, 2022. (Elijah Todd-Walden/Center for Broadcast Journalism)

The Minnesota POST Board adopted new rules of conduct Tuesday that give it the authority to strip a peace officer’s license before a conviction against the officer is made.

Prior to Tuesday, the POST Board was unable to remove an officer’s license before a conviction. The rule came under fire after the board said they were unable to strip former MPD officer Derek Chauvin’s license away before he was convicted of murdering George Floyd. Now, the board can revoke the license of an officer who engages in a range of misconduct, including:

  • Engaging in unreasonable or excessive force, or failing to intervene or report when witnessing another officer using excessive force.

  • Misusing influence as an officer to avoid punishment, to maliciously obtain a warrant, or make undisclosed arrangements with witnesses or suspects.

  • Mishandling evidence

  • Being the subject of a suspension or revocation of a license in another jurisdiction. This is notable due to Minneapolis coming under fire recently for the hiring of Tyler Timberlake, who was charged with assaulting a Black man by tasing and striking him multiple times.

  • Engaging in sexual abuse, domestic assault, being registered as a sex offender at any point or violating a restraining order.

The new set of rules is the latest attempt to rebuild trust between police and the communities they serve by providing clear guidelines for officers to follow, and quick consequences if they misstep.

Minnesota Justice Coalition President Johnathon McClellan said that the steps taken by the Board are headed in the right direction.

“We believe that the POST Board has the ability to see things and get into the nuances without being stonewalled by the blue wall of silence,” McClellan said. I think that it comes down to being able to pierce that veil and see whether there is an issue or not with a particular officer, and to prescribe a remedy for that issue. I think that’s huge.”

The new rules also allow the POST Board to enforce legislation passed by the state this session, which bars law enforcement officers from joining or supporting hate groups. McClellan says it’s common sense legislation.

“This was one of the most basic things we can do to combat racism within the police department,” McClellan said. “These officers shouldn’t be a part of security threat groups and be allowed to propagate hate.”

When the POST Board accuses an officer of misconduct, the board must hold an administrative hearing and make the case to remove the license in front of an administrative law judge, but the burden of proof is not as strict as in a criminal court. The officer still has the right to a lawyer and witnesses at their hearing.

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