Minnesota Human Rights department claims Minneapolis police practiced or participated in race discrimination

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights announced Wednesday that after a nearly two-year investigation, there is probable cause for the Minneapolis Police Department and city of Minneapolis to engage in a pattern of discrimination based on race. This was in violation of Minnesota's Human Rights Act.

Minnesota Human Rights department claims Minneapolis police practiced or participated in race discrimination

After the murder in May 2020 of George Floyd, the investigation examined whether the city or the police used racially disparaging practices and policies.

When announcing the findings of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights report, Rebecca Lucero, Minnesota Department of Human Rights Commissioner, stated that "Following George Floyd's murder demands to end discriminatory policing methods reverberated throughout the world." These demands are still urgent today, with the release of the investigative findings that paint an alarming picture of the Minneapolis Police Department and the City of Minneapolis engaging in a pattern of racism over the past decade.

The 72-page report was written by the human rights department. It stated that the MPD "engages or practices discriminatory, race-based police" and highlighted "racial disparities" in the MPD's use of force, stop, search and arrest people of color.

The report notes, for example, that MPD data showed that MPD officers were nearly twice as likely to use neckrestraints against Black people than officers who recorded that they were using them against whites. This is despite the fact that MPD officers had previously noted that MPD officers used neck restraints against Black people when MPD policy allowed them.

This report also claims that the problems stem primarily from the department's organizational culture. It cites "deficient" training that emphasizes a paramilitary approach in policing, which results in officers inappropriately using force or escalating encounters.

The MPD's force files were reviewed by an expert. It was found that MPD officers used inappropriate and unnecessary force in 52.6% cases in which they used neck restraints and 37.1% in incidents where they spray chemical irritants on individuals of all races and ethnicities.

The report called the accountability procedures of the department "inefficient" and ineffective, and stated that the department has not done enough for racial disparities.

The report stated that reforming MPD's policies and procedures will not be meaningful if there aren't fundamental cultural changes.

Jacob Frey, the mayor of the city, stated that he was "outraged" at the findings and that the report would allow the city to improve its policing policies.

He stated that the report "reaffirms our need for double-down to shift our culture in our police force, to hold up to and hire community-oriented officers and hold those who do not adhere to our Minneapolis values accountable."

Amelia Huffman was appointed interim chief of the department after the former chief retired. She said that the department is committed to "promoting trust and officer safety".

Huffman stated that reforms have been made over the past two years to create a constitutional, effective police force that is available for all citizens. We will be reviewing this report to ensure we understand each issue. We will continue to invest in people, policies and processes to promote public trust and officer safety.

The investigation was announced for the first time in June 2020. This was shortly after Floyd's death by Derek Chauvin who was at that time an officer with Minneapolis Police Department. International outrage and an international reckoning about race in America erupted after video of Chauvin pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck for nine minutes.

Chauvin was convicted nearly a year later of unintentional third-degree murder, third degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. was sentenced to 22 years and 1/2 years last June.

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced the Department of Human Rights investigation. It would not only investigate Floyd's death but also the past 10 years of the city’s policing to determine "if the department has used systemic discriminatory practices toward people of color."

"We are not going to restore peace in our streets by having more National Guard members show up. Walz stated that we are not going to restore peace on our streets by having a larger group of National Guard show up. "We will establish peace on the streets when we address the systemic problems that caused it in first place."

He said, "If this isn't an inflection point...this will come back again."

The human rights department has released the findings and said that they are now working with the city on a consent decree. This is a court-enforceable agreement which outlines the changes that will take place.

"Race-based policing violates the law and causes harm to everyone, particularly Indigenous community members and people of color - sometimes even costing their lives," Lucero stated. "I look forward the work ahead with City, MPD and community members to improve safety and reverse unlawful policing practices."

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