Updated Apr 27, 2022 - News

Minneapolis police engage in "pattern" of racial discrimination, state probe finds

protesters outside first precinct
Protesters gathered outside a downtown Minneapolis police station in June 2020. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

The Minneapolis Police Department violated the Minnesota Human Rights Act by engaging in a "pattern or practice" of racial discrimination, a two-year state probe found.

The big picture: The findings are the result of a Minnesota Human Rights Department investigation, launched days after George Floyd was killed, into the police department's practices over a 10-year period.

What it found: The investigation, which included review of 700 hours of body camera footage, interviews and training observations and nearly 480,000 pages of documents, determined that there is probable cause that MPD's actions and practices constituted a "denial of rights [that] consists of something more than isolated, sporadic incidents, but is repeated, routine, or of a generalized nature."

Details: The probe found significant differences in how MPD officers treat people of color and white individuals in similar situations.

  • Officers were more likely to stop, cite, arrest and use more severe force against Black individuals, the report states.
  • The report also highlights social media surveillance of Black individuals and organizations that it deemed were "unrelated to criminal activity" and what investigators called "consistent use of racist, misogynistic, and disrespectful language" by officers.

Behind the problems: Organizational culture, deficient training and a lack of accountability for officers accused of misconduct are driving forces, according to the report.

  • The state agency blames city and MPD leaders for failing to respond with the "urgency, coordination, and intentionality necessary to address racial disparities in policing to improve public safety and increase community trust."

What they're saying: "Without fundamental organizational culture changes, reforming MPD's policies, procedures, and trainings will be meaningless," the report reads.

What's ahead: The department and the city will use the findings to develop policy changes that can be enforced via a court-issued consent degree, per a release.

What to watch: A U.S. Department of Justice probe into MPD's practices, announced just over a year ago, is ongoing.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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