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EXPLAINER: Trial highlights Bureau of Criminal Apprehension

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Jurors within the trial of a Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd’s dea-th are listening to from investigators from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, an company that may very well be seen because the state’s equal of the FBI.

The BCA has come below hearth for its investigations of different police-involved deaths, particularly the case of a Minneapolis officer who shot and kil-led an unarmed Australian lady in 2017. It has saved a decrease public profile whereas main the investigation into the roles of Derek Chauvin and three different fired officers in Floyd‘s dea-th final May. Senior Special Agent James Reyerson testified Wednesday about his function as lead investigator.

Readers of the best-selling John Sandford detective novels know the BCA because the employer of the protagonists, Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers.

WHAT IS THE BCA?

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is a statewide company that gives investigative and different companies to assist remedy crimes, usually to again up smaller regulation enforcement businesses that lack enough assets. The BCA additionally offers laboratory, coaching and felony file companies. It has greater than 300 brokers, analysts, scientists and different employees at its headquarters and lab in St. Paul and workplaces across the state. Many states have one thing related.

The BCA has been led by Superintendent Drew Evans since 2015. The bureau is a component of the bigger Department of Public Safety, run by Commissioner John Harrington, who’s one of the highest Black regulation enforcement officers in Minnesota.

A police accountability bundle enacted final 12 months in response to Floyd‘s dea-th requires all regulation enforcement businesses to report back to the BCA any use-of-force incidents that end in severe harm or dea-th.

CRITICISM IN THE NOOR CASE

Police watchdogs had lengthy seen BCA as being half of the “blue wall of silence,” however the bureau got here below some of its heaviest criticism throughout the investigation of former Minneapolis Officer Mohamed Noor. In 2017, Noor fatally shot an unarmed Australian lady, Justine Ruszczyk Damond, who had known as 911 to report a potential sexual assault.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman informed activists that he hadn’t been capable of cost Noor as a result of brokers weren’t doing their jobs. Damond’s father, John Ruszczyk, known as the BCA’s early work “either active resistance or gross incompetence.” The BCA pushed again in opposition to Freeman’s feedback however put new brokers on the case, and Freeman mentioned they did exemplary work. Following Noor’s conviction on mur-der and man-slaughter fees in 2019, Freeman mentioned his rift with the bureau had healed.

THE AGENCY’S ROLE IN THE CHAUVIN CASE

The BCA additionally led the investigation into Floyd‘s dea-th, but the county attorney’s workplace has taken a again seat. At the request of Gov. Tim Walz, Keith Ellison, the state’s first Black legal professional normal, took over the prosecution. So the BCA has been reporting its findings to the legal professional normal’s workplace.

Testimony in Chauvin‘s trial has included frequent references to the BCA, which interviewed many witnesses, sometimes with the FBI, though Chauvin exercised his right to remain silent. Defense attorney Eric Nelson has been alert in highlighting discrepancies between witnesses’ testimony and their statements to the BCA.

Questions have been raised about how BCA investigators missed medication once they first searched the SUV that Floyd was driving and the squad automotive that officers tried to place him in on the evening of the deadly confrontation. Second searches of the automobiles in December and January turned up drugs containing a mix of methamphetamine and fentanyl.

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