A state investigation found the Minneapolis Police Department engaged in a pattern of racial discrimination, a finding that will allow the state’s civil rights enforcement agency to begin elaborating a consent decree to force the department to change its practices and policies.
The investigation found disparities in how Minneapolis Police Department officers use force and conduct traffic stops when interacting with black motorists compared to whites, said Rebecca Lucero, commissioner of the rights department of Minnesota man.
It also found that officers used “covert social media to monitor black individuals and black organizations, unrelated to criminal activity” and that officers consistently used “racist, misogynistic and disrespectful language with impunity”.
The findings come two years after the investigation was launched into the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck for 9½ minutes.
Chauvin was sentenced in April 2021 on charges of second and third degree murder, as well as second degree manslaughter. He was sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison in June. He also pleaded guilty to federal charges of violating Floyd’s civil rights.
Three former officers who were also present when Floyd died were found guilty in February of depriving Floyd of his federal civil rights while acting under government authority when they failed to provide him with medical aid. Their state trial for aiding and abetting the killing of Floyd is scheduled to begin in June.
The case was a watershed moment for discussions of race, policing and police brutality.
“After the murder of George Floyd, calls to end discriminatory policing reverberated around the world,” Lucero said. “These demands remain equally urgent today with the announcement of investigation findings that paint a troubling picture of the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Police Department engaging in a pattern of racial discrimination over the past decade.”
However, Lucero said the investigation and its findings were not based on any single officer or case, but rather looked at the city’s police as a whole over 10 years, using 700 hours of body camera video, nearly 480,000 pages of municipal and police documents. , and observations of approximately 87 hours of training at the police academy.
The report’s findings indicate that “the race-based policing model or practice is caused by the MPD’s ineffective oversight and accountability structures and ineffective trainings that reinforce a culture that opposes accountability and does not support Additionally, city and MPD leaders have failed to act collectively with the urgency, coordination, and intentionality necessary to address well-known racial disparities.
Amelia Huffman, acting chief of the Minneapolis Police Department, called the findings “deeply concerning.”
“We will review this report in conjunction with city leaders and community members to ensure that we fully understand the issues raised by this report,” she said. “We are committed to providing an effective constitutional policing service.”
The civil rights enforcement agency plans to work with the city to develop a consent decree, which would provide a mechanism to compel the police department to make changes to its policies and practices and would be enforced by a judge.
The process will include working with “community members, MPD officers, city staff and other stakeholders to gather feedback on what should be included in a consent decree to address racial discrimination.” in the police department in Minneapolis”.
The Hennepin County District Court will be responsible for independently overseeing the city’s implementation of the consent decree.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said the city has “a lot of work to do” but is also “galvanized to bring about the necessary change and the culture change that we need, not just in service police, but throughout the city”.
The Minnesota Department of Human Rights has already been successful in pushing the city to make changes to the police department. The department, in 2020, obtained a temporary court order that required the police department to immediately ban the use of chokeholds, required officers to report or respond to unauthorized use of force by others officers, and ensured that only a police chief could approve the use of crowd control weapons during protests.
The findings were applauded by civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who represented Floyd’s family, and said a state consent decree “would finally give us confidence that real change in policing is possible, and Minneapolis can become a safer city for its black people.” residents,” Crump said.
While the state has completed its investigation, the Justice Department is still conducting its own investigation into the department’s discriminatory policing.
The federal investigation is being conducted pursuant to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which prohibits state and local governments from engaging in any law enforcement conduct or practice. the order that deprives individuals of rights protected by the Constitution or federal law. .
Lucero said state and federal agencies act independently and it’s possible to have two separate consent decrees on the same city and police department.