Department of Justice Releases After-Action Assessment of the Response to Minneapolis Protests

For Immediate Release: 
Monday, March 20, 2017
Mary Brandenberger
(202) 514-5328

COPS Office releases 36 findings and 71 recommendations to implement best practices for public safety response to civil disturbances

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) today released an after-action report of the City of Minneapolis and Minneapolis Police Department's (MPD) public safety response to the protests, demonstrations and police precinct occupation that followed the November 2015 fatal shooting of Jamar Clark.

The review, requested by Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau, specifically focuses on the 18-day period of police response to protest activities including the occupation and demonstrations in and around the fourth precinct police station.

“The Minneapolis Police Department displayed commendable restraint and resilience in these extremely difficult circumstances,” said Acting COPS Office Director Russell Washington. “I applaud Chief Harteau and Mayor Hodges for requesting this after-action review. The findings and recommendations outlined in the report will not only benefit MPD and the City of Minneapolis, but provide a roadmap for other cities faced with similar challenging situations.”

The report, produced in partnership with the Police Foundation, provides 36 findings and 71 recommendations that focus on leadership and incident command, internal and external communication, use of force, training, equipment and tools for managing demonstrations, officer safety, and community engagement.

The assessment team found that the commitment of the city, the police department and individual officers to a peaceful, measured response played a large role in keeping the occupation from escalating. While city officials successfully ended the 18-day occupation, there were a number of important lessons learned that will be of interest to other police departments and communities.

The review found that the City of Minneapolis lacked a coordinated political, tactical and operational response to the protests, demonstrations, and occupation of the fourth precinct police station. This led to inconsistent messaging, confusion and ineffective communication that negatively affected the response. The assessment team found that a breakdown in communication between city leaders, police leadership and line officers impacted the ability of line officers to carry out the response and inhibited effective crowd management.

The report, Maintaining First Amendment Rights and Public Safety in North Minneapolis: An After-Action Assessment of the Police Response to Protests, Demonstrations, and Occupation of the Minneapolis Police Department’s Fourth Precinct, is available on the COPS Office website at:

This assessment was conducted as a part of the COPS Office Critical Response Technical Assistance programThe program was designed to provide targeted technical assistance to law enforcement agencies dealing with high-profile events, major incidents or sensitive issues of varying need. Its goal is to institutionalize and operationalize community policing as a core fundamental philosophy for law enforcement agencies engaging their communities. It also aims to build community trust through positive community perception of law enforcement legitimacy and fairness.

The COPS Office is a federal agency responsible for advancing community policing nationwide. Since 1995, the COPS Office has invested more than $14 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,000 state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of approximately 129,000 officers and provide a variety of knowledge resource products including publications, training and technical assistance. For additional information about the COPS Office, please visit