Minneapolis Police Department engaged in racial discrimination, state says

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The investigation was spurred by the death of George Floyd in May 2020.

After a nearly two-year investigation, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights found that the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Police Department engaged in a pattern or practice of racial discrimination in violation of law. on Minnesota Human Rights.

The human rights agency said on Wednesday it would work with the city to develop a consent decree – “a court-enforceable agreement that identifies the specific changes to be made and the timelines for those changes to occur.” .

The investigation found racial disparities in how “MPD officers use force, stop, search, arrest and summon people of color; in MPD agents’ use of covert social media to monitor black individuals and black organizations, unrelated to criminal activity; MPD officers consistently use racist, misogynistic and disrespectful language.”

These conclusions were reached after investigators reviewed hundreds of hours of video footage, official interviews with officers, experts and witnesses, and read thousands of pages of documents and material.

The Department of Human Rights said it would meet with community members, MPD officers, city officials and others to get input for the consent decree aimed at combating the racial discrimination in city police departments.

The investigation seeks to determine whether MPD engages in a pattern or practice of racial discrimination in violation of Minnesota’s human rights law, the state’s civil rights law.

The Human Rights Department’s filing came shortly after the May 25, 2020 killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin was convicted of the April 20, 2021 murder.

“Community leaders have been calling for structural change for decades,” Commissioner Rebecca Lucero said in June 2020 during the ministry’s announcement. “They fought for this and it is essential that we recognize the work and commitment of those who have paved the way to make today’s announcement possible.”

Attorney Ben Crump and co-counsel Antonio Romanucci and Jeff Storms, the legal team representing Floyd’s family, called the findings “historic”.

“We hope this will lead to placing the city and the police department under a state-ordered consent decree, which would finally give us confidence that real change in policing is possible, and Minneapolis can become a safer city for its black residents,” they said in a statement.

He continued, “We call on city, state and police leaders to accept the challenge of these findings and finally make meaningful changes to build trust between communities of color in Minneapolis and those who have sworn to them. protect and serve them.”

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Department of Justice also launched an investigation into patterns or practices in the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Police Department in 2021. That investigation is still ongoing.

The Department of Human Rights obtained a temporary order from the Hennepin County District Court in June 2020 that forced the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Police Department to implement immediate policy changes.

The MPD was required to prohibit chokeholds, officers were required to report or intervene in the unauthorized use of force by other officers, obtain approval from the Chief of Police on the use of crowd control weapons and more.

Since the human rights investigation began, groups like the Minnesota Justice Center, NYU Law’s Policing Project and the Minneapolis Foundation have offered recommendations for the MPD in independent reviews of the department.

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