LETTER TO THE EDITOR: BCA's role clarified in investigation process
In a Dec. 9 letter to the editor, a writer included a factual error about the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension's (BCA) role in the criminal justice process following officer use of force incidents.
As an independent fact finder, the BCA does not decide or determine the outcome of officer-involved shooting cases or any other investigation. The BCA presents its findings without recommendations to a county attorney for review and determination under Minnesota statutes. Charging or indictment decisions rest solely with the prosecutor or grand jury.
The BCA conducts officer-involved shooting investigations the same way it does all investigations. BCA agents interview witnesses and the people involved in the incident and conduct follow-up interviews as needed to ultimately find all of the facts of a case. In addition, the crime scene team and forensic scientists collect, analyze and review evidence related to the incident. The time required to conduct a thorough and complete investigation varies depending on many factors. The agency involved in the incident has no input regarding the investigative direction of the case.
Under state law, the BCA is prohibited from discussing details of active and ongoing investigations; however, the BCA releases all public investigative data once the case is closed.
Drew Evans, St. Paul, is superintendent of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.