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Families of men killed by police settle with BCA over investigative files

Peter Cox

Mar 27, 2024

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has settled a lawsuit with five families whose family members were killed at the hands of police.

The families said the BCA withheld data about the investigations that should be public under state law.

In each case, prosecutors had received a full investigative case from the BCA, and then declined to press charges. At that point, the file typically is considered public information, though some parts may be hidden from view.

Attorney Paul Bosman said families requested the public data, and then waited.

“They’re supposed to get it within 10 days — they did not receive the data from the BCA,” said their attorney Paul Bosman. “It came down to the fact that we had to sue the BCA to get the data that these families were entitled to.”

The settlement is for $165,000 as well as changes to the BCA’s procedures in working with families.

In a statement, the BCA said it settled to “limit the cost, both financially and emotionally, on those involved.” The agency says it had long wanted more funding to respond to data requests, and has received it.

“Requests for data from the BCA have increased dramatically in recent years and this additional funding and staffing will mean faster responses for anyone who requests information in the coming years,” the BCA said.

It’s rare for police to face criminal charges in connection with on-duty deaths.

Bosman said as part of the settlement, the BCA will, upon request, provide families with a one page document that outlines what they are entitled to and how to get it, complete with contact information.

He hopes the settlement will make it easier for families to heal and for anyone to get data following fatal incidents involving police officers.

“People in Minnesota, they’re the ones responsible for what their law enforcement officers do. And this is the way that they can actually keep an eye on what the police do besides what the police tell them,” he said.

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