Report: Minneapolis Police Involved in Pattern of Unlawful Racial Discrimination 2022-04-27 11:52:41


The Minneapolis Police Department has engaged in a pattern of racial discrimination in violation of the state’s civil rights law over the past decade, empowered by a leadership culture that does not hold problem officers to account, according to a scathing report published Wednesday morning by the State Department. Minnesota Department of Human Rights.

In a two-year investigation, the state’s Department of Human Rights found that Minnesota’s largest municipal police agency uses force, stop, search, arrest, and cite people of color – especially blacks – at starkly higher rates than whites, According to the 72-page report. Minneapolis police also conduct “covert social media” surveillance of black individuals and organizations unrelated to criminal activity, and have used fake accounts to criticize a city council member and government official online. The report concluded that officers regularly used “racist, misogynistic and disrespectful language”.

The report found that city leaders and the police department were aware of these practices, which undermine public order in Minneapolis. According to the report, “these leaders did not act collectively with the urgency, coordination, and resolve necessary to address racial disparities to improve public safety.”

Instead, the department continued to emphasize paramilitary training that results in officers “unnecessarily escalating confrontations or using inappropriate levels of force.” According to the report, the system to hold officers accountable for misconduct is “inadequate and ineffective.”

The agency said in a statement that the Department of Human Rights will work with government officials in Minneapolis to develop a consent decree, an enforceable agreement by the court that sets out the specific changes that need to be made and the timelines for those changes to occur. The department will meet with community members, Minneapolis officials, city employees and other stakeholders to gather feedback on what to include in the consent decree.

“Race-based policing is illegal and harms everyone, especially people of color and members of indigenous communities – sometimes even costing their lives,” Commissioner for Human Rights Rebecca Lucero said in a statement on Wednesday. “I look forward to future work with the city, MPD, and community members to improve public safety by reversing illegal policing practices.”

At a press conference, Lucero called an approval decision of this kind “unprecedented” in Minnesota.

Racial differences, secret accounts

Lucero Investigation opened on June 1, 2020days after former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd, launching an operation that Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero said would lead to systemic change.

In addition to disparities in traffic stops, police data show that black individuals are over-cited for disorderly behavior or obstruction of the legal process “when officers are upset or dissatisfied with a member of the community’s reaction or response to a police officer’s presence,” as found the report.

From 2010 to 2020, Minneapolis police officers cited more than 3,300 black individuals for disorderly conduct or obstruction — which is about 66% of all citations for disorderly behavior and obstruction in that time period. Members of the black community describe these citations as the “black tax,” the report said, referring to the fines incurred and the resources used to combat it.

MPD has also used secret social media accounts to monitor black but not white individuals and institutions. As of December 2020, MPD has not used secret accounts to track white supremacist groups. Through secret accounts, MPD officers sent friend requests, commented on posts and sent private messages.

The report concluded that “in doing so, the officers pretended to be like-minded individuals and claimed, for example, that they had met the target person at a previous demonstration or protest.” “In social media posts and messages, MPD officers have used language to reinforce racial stereotypes associated with black people, especially black women.”

In addition, officers used these secret accounts to pose as members of the community in order to attack critics of the police and elected officials, including a Minneapolis city councilman and a state elected official, who was not named in the report.

The report found that the department maintains a culture that consistently uses racist, misogynistic and disrespectful language, including referring to black individuals with “N-words” and “monkeys”, calling black women “black whores” and referring to Somali men as “orangutans.” . “, according to the report, citing body camera footage, discipline records, statements from community members, and interviews with officers. Similarly degrading terms to women are used, including (C-word) and “bitch.” When investigating a sexual assault case, the report said, A New York Police Department officer has falsely stated that a man cannot be found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman if they have children together.

Hennepin County prosecutors told investigators they struggle to rely on camera video worn by MPD officers “due to MPD officers’ disrespect and mistreatment of criminal suspects, witnesses and bystanders.”

State investigators also found that racist insults and sexual comments are commonly used against fellow officers, who rarely report misconduct, the report says, because they fear reprisals and do not believe their colleagues will face discipline.

poor training

The report said the training was inadequate, resulting in problematic police tactics, with a “warrior mentality” being promoted despite the ban on warrior style training in 2019. Moreover, officers regularly expressed distrust of the department’s policy, saying the changes were Frequent and not well communicative. Other officers said they did not understand the updated force policy they were expected to follow.

The report said supervisors are not sufficiently trained, leaving them without the tools to hold those responsible for solving problems to account. Focusing on aggression during training leads officers to escalate unnecessary confrontations.

The report concluded that there is no meaningful independent review process for MPD conduct accountability, including through the Office of Police Conduct Review, which is not distinctly different from Internal Affairs: “Nearly every investigation of a police misconduct complaint against an MPD police officer, regardless of How it is evaluated or directed by sworn MPD officers.”

Meanwhile, the civilian-led Police Conduct Monitoring Committee is treated with mistrust and “lacks the appropriate resources and capabilities to do its job”. Only a handful of cases have been referred from the Office of Civil and Political Rights, and only cases are closed, leaving commissioners in the dark about dismissed complaints before the investigative process.

The Human Rights Division reviewed nearly 700 hours of body-worn camera footage and nearly 480,000 pages of documents, including training materials, policies and procedures, disciplinary records, internal and external communications and correspondence, and MPD’s classified social media accounts, according to the report. Investigators also noted 2021 MPD Academy training courses for new officer assignments and completed rides with MPD officers in each of the city’s five districts. The department formulated its findings after consulting with police experts and interviewing police officers and supervisors in the chain of command, along with elected officials and city employees in Minneapolis.

Since Lucero announced the investigation in 2020, four Minneapolis police officers, including Chauvin, have been convicted of crimes related to Floyd’s murder. Chauvin had been convicted of murder and manslaughter a year earlier, and pleaded guilty to federal civil rights violations in December. A federal jury has found J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao guilty of using the law color to violate Floyd’s civil rights, causing his death earlier this year and the three face another trial set to begin in June on charges of aiding and abetting the murder. .

In addition to the state’s investigation, the Department of Justice is also participating in an investigation into whether the Minneapolis police have engaged in a pattern and practice of illegal conduct.