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Minneapolis officers found engaging in racist policing


The Minneapolis Police Department regularly engages in multiple forms of racially discriminatory policing, fails to hold officers accountable for misconduct, and has used fake social media accounts to target black people and organizations, according to a damning investigation released Wednesday by the State Department of Human Rights. .

The department has a ‘culture that opposes oversight and accountability,’ and city and department leaders have failed to act with the ‘necessary urgency, coordination, and intentionality’ to correct its problems. , concluded the investigation.

Minneapolis police have come under intense scrutiny since cellphone cameras captured the killing of a black man, George Floyd, by a police officer during an arrest on May 25, 2020. The police investigation Report on Human Rights began about a week later. The department is also the subject of a similar investigation by the federal Department of Justice.

Both investigations could result in consent decrees, agreements overseen by monitors and enforced by the courts. Such agreements usually include a long list of required changes, benchmarks and deadlines. The state human rights department is seeking public comment on what such a consent decree should include.

His investigation found that officers stopped, searched, arrested, ticketed, used force, and killed black and Indigenous people at a higher rate than white people. Although black people make up about 19% of the population, in 10 years of data, 63% of cases where officers recorded the use of force were against black people, according to the report.

The department did not have enough data to examine the treatment of other racial and ethnic groups, Rebecca Lucero, the state’s human rights commissioner, said at a news conference.

Investigators reviewed 700 hours of body camera footage, finding that officers and supervisors used racist, misogynistic and disrespectful language towards suspects, witnesses, spectators – and to each other. The report provides an extensive list of slurs officers used against women and black people.

The lack of respect was so blatant that local prosecutors said it was difficult to show body camera footage to juries, according to the report: “When MPD officers shout obscenities at members of the community, it is difficult for prosecutors to do their job.

Officers used “secret social media accounts,” which the report said were “unrelated to any actual or suspected criminal activity,” to observe and engage with black elected officials, individuals and organizations, sometimes impersonating members of the community to engage or comment. In one case, according to the report, an officer posed as a black resident to send a message criticizing the NAACP

Mr Floyd was killed after two rookie officers responded to a call saying he had tried to use a counterfeit $20 note at a convenience store. Mr. Floyd refused to get into the police car. A field training officer, Derek Chauvin, and his partner arrived to provide backup. Mr. Chauvin forced Mr. Floyd to the sidewalk and knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes, while his partner stood guard and the two rookies helped corner Mr. Floyd.

Mr. Chauvin was convicted of murder and pleaded guilty to federal civil rights violations. The other three officers were found guilty of failing to intervene or provide medical aid and remain charged by the state with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.

Although field training officers like Mr. Chauvin have a huge influence on recruits, the department does not provide them with ongoing instruction, the investigation found – an oversight that he said “strengthens the retention of order based on race”. He cited a 2020 case in which a training officer allowed a trainee to search an unarmed black woman, but said searching an intoxicated white man who admitted to having a knife in his bag would be a loss. time for the trainee.

The investigation found that the ministry still fails to empower officers to intervene when they see something wrong. On the first day of training in 2021, according to the report, recruits were told that “instant and unchallenged compliance is key.”

That attitude reverberates — MPD officers demand unchallenged compliance in “even the most mundane interactions,” community members told investigators. More than 2,000 residents were interviewed.

Since that academy class, the department has begun peer intervention training for all officers.

Mayor Jacob Frey and the police department have touted numerous policy changes since Mr. Floyd’s killing, including banning chokeholds and neck restraints and updating the department’s use-of-force policy.

But officers reported that in some cases they had to wait a year or more to hear the details. In the case of the new use of force policy, which includes the new restraint limits, investigators found officers were only given a 15-minute “narrated PowerPoint presentation” about the changes.

The department lacks top-down accountability measures, investigators found. They said more than a third of officers who are referred for coaching, the least serious form of intervention, do not receive it, and supervisors do not report excessive use of force.

The report cites a 2017 case in which an officer hit an unarmed 14-year-old in his bedroom with a flashlight and choked him unconscious, all because the teenager did not get up quickly enough when ordered to do so. A supervisor approved the agent’s actions.

The report says that entities tasked with investigating malpractice often fail to review body camera footage or respect officers over witnesses. He said the department’s internal affairs unit handled a quarter of complaints improperly, while the Police Conduct Review Office, which includes civilian investigators, handled half of complaints improperly. which he had investigated.

As of mid-afternoon Wednesday, the police department and Mayor Frey’s office had yet to respond to requests for comment.

nytimes Gt

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