Minneapolis Police Department Engaged in Pattern of Racial Discrimination, State Investigation Says

A state investigation found that the city of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Police Department engaged in a pattern of racial discrimination in violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

According to the investigation released by the Minnesota Human Rights Department (MDHR) on April 28, Minneapolis police officers showed “racial disparities” in how they use force and conduct traffic stops when engaging with people of color, particularly Black individuals, compared to white people in similar circumstances.

The 72-page investigation also found that police officers used “covert social media to surveil” Black individuals and organizations, unrelated to criminal activity.

Police officers also consistently used racist, misogynistic, and disrespectful language, the investigation said.

The investigation revealed that “an organizational culture” with deficient training and insufficient and ineffective accountability systems primarily caused the practice of discriminatory policing.

MDHR also said that former and current city and police leaders “have not collectively acted with the urgency, coordination, and intentionality necessary to address racial disparities.”

“Race-based policing is unlawful and harms everyone, especially people of color and Indigenous community members — sometimes costing community members their lives,” MDHR Commissioner Rebecca Lucero said in a statement.

MDHR will now work with the city to develop a consent decree, which is a court order issued by a judge to force the police department to make specific changes to its policies and practices.

MDHR launched the investigation after the May 2020 killing of George Floyd by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes.

The Justice Department also launched its own investigation into discriminatory policing by the Minneapolis Police Department. The investigation is ongoing.

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