Against the backdrop of the Derek Chauvin murder conviction in Minneapolis and more deadly police interactions with African Americans throughout the nation, Metro officials released a new report from a panel created to investigate claims against the transit agency’s police department.
The Metro Transit Police Department’s Investigation Review Panel, created last year, found that internal interviews lacked and that officers were deficient in preventing misunderstandings.
The panel said the department should improve in areas of searchers, communication and training.
The two-page report, which only included incidents from the fourth quarter of 2019, noted an improper arrest, a biased-based stop, and racial profiling.
The panel said Transit Police failed to establish probable cause when they arrested an individual and noted two officers’ failure to provide enough details to a superior to make a “fully informed decision.”
The panel said investigators should have more thoroughly looked into the arrest.
In the biased-based stop, the panel said an individual stopped for fare evasion was justified. They dismissed accusations that the stop had anything to do with race or other biases.
A third case before the panel involved an unlawful arrest of individuals in a parking garage.
Police charged the unidentified suspects with failing to vacate the private property. However, the panel determined that an internal investigation was inadequate, police fail to interview the subjects or two available witnesses.
“With better communication between the officer and the juveniles involved [the arrest could have been avoided],” the panel noted.
The Metro board created the panel in 2020 following the murder of George Floyd.
District and local authorities have also come under fire by civilians for their treatment of individuals of color.
The panel’s mission is to review police investigations and make recommendations following criticism that Transit Police seek out and quickly arrest people in Black neighborhoods.
“We appreciate the thoughtful recommendations of how Metro and the MTPD can improve community policing,” Metro Board Chair Paul C. Smedberg said in a memo, The Washington Post reported. “Producing and publishing these reports is a very positive step and ensures a higher level of transparency and public accountability.”
Smedberg didn’t immediately return messages left by The Informer.