After 2-Year Probe, a 'Scathing' Report on Minneapolis PD

Investigation finds pattern of racial discrimination
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 27, 2022 12:06 PM CDT
After 2-Year Probe, a 'Scathing' Report on Minneapolis PD
Minneapolis police stand outside the department's 3rd Precinct on May 27, 2020, in Minneapolis.   (Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune via AP)

A state investigation launched after George Floyd’s killing in the custody of four Minneapolis police officers has determined that the department engages in a pattern of race discrimination. The state launched its investigation barely a week after Floyd's death on May 25, 2020, and Minnesota's Department of Human Rights on Wednesday announced the findings of the nearly two-year probe, with the Star Tribune calling the 72-page report "scathing." The department has the power to enforce the state's Human Rights Act, which makes it illegal for police departments to discriminate against someone due to their race.

Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero said the goal was to negotiate a consent decree with the city, reports the AP; that's a court-enforceable agreement that details particular changes to be made and assigns them a timeline. The department intends to solicit input from police officers, city staff, and residents before determining what should be specified in the consent decree. Courts can enforce it using injunctions and financial penalties. The US Department of Justice is also investigating Minneapolis policing practices, though it isn't thought to be close to a conclusion. As for the conclusions of this report, some standout ones:

  • The report found "racial disparities in how MPD officers use force, stop, search, arrest, and cite people of color, particularly Black individuals, compared to white individuals in similar circumstances."
  • It calls out "MPD officers' use of covert social media to surveil Black individuals and Black organizations, unrelated to criminal activity."
  • It notes "MPD officers' consistent use of racist, misogynistic, and disrespectful language."
  • It states "MPD officers, supervisors, and field training officers receive deficient training, which emphasizes a paramilitary approach to policing that results in officers unnecessarily escalating encounters or using inappropriate levels of force."
  • It concludes: "Without fundamental organizational culture changes, reforming MPD's policies, procedures, and trainings will be meaningless."
(More Minneapolis stories.)

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