Investigation launched after Floyd’s death finds Minneapolis police discriminate against race

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (AP) — A state investigation launched following the killing of George Floyd while four Minneapolis police officers were in custody found the department engaged in racial discrimination.

On Wednesday, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights announced the results of a nearly two-year investigation. The department has the power to enforce the State Human Rights Act, which prohibits police departments from discriminating against anyone on the basis of race.

The state launched its investigation just a week after Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020. Then-officer Derek Chauvin kneeled a black man to the sidewalk for 9.5 minutes in a case that sparked anti-police protests around the world. racism and cruelty. Chauvin, white, was convicted of murder last spring. Three other officers – Tou Tao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng – were convicted this year of violating Floyd’s civil rights in a federal trial and will face state court starting in June.

Commissioner for Human Rights Rebecca Lucero said at the time that the state hoped to use the investigation to find long-term solutions to systemic change.. She said the goal was to negotiate with the city for a consent decree that the courts could enforce with injunctive relief and financial sanctions, citing such agreements in more than a dozen other cities, including Chicago, where the U.S. Department of Justice found a long history of racial bias and overuse. police forces.

The department quickly won a writ in which city ​​agreed to make immediate changesincluding banning chokeholds and requiring officers to intervene when they see another officer using undue force.

Since then, government investigators have reviewed a decade’s worth of information, including data on traffic stops, searches, arrests, and use of force, and examined policy and training. They also invited citizens to submit their stories of encounters with Minneapolis police.

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights is the state’s civil rights agency. His responsibilities include enforcing the Minnesota Human Rights Act, which, among other things, prohibits the police department from discriminating against anyone on the basis of race.

Since Floyd’s death, the department has come under pressure from all quarters. US Department of Justice it’s the same investigation into Minneapolis police practicesalthough this is not considered close to a conclusion.

Several city council members and residents have pushed for the department to be replaced with a new public safety unit that they believe could take a more comprehensive public health approach to policing, including reducing the required minimum number of police officers. Last year, voters rejected the idea.

Mayor Jacob Frey and Chief Medaria Arradondo also made a number of changes to departmental policy and practice before retiring in January, including requiring officers to document their efforts to de-escalate the situation and motorists are no longer stopped for minor traffic violations.

But public dissatisfaction with the police flared up again in February, when Amir Locke was shot and killed by police officers serving a no-strike order, a 22-year-old black man who slept on the couch in his cousin’s apartment. Prosecutors declined to charge the officer who shot Locke, saying body camera video showed him pointing a gun at the officer, a claim disputed by his family. Since then, the city has banned the issuance of anti-knock warrants except in the most extreme circumstances, such as hostage taking.

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