Today, City officials received findings from the Minnesota Department of Human Rights that there is probable cause that the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Police Department engage in a pattern or practice of race discrimination in violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act.
The MDHR investigation launched June 1, 2020, after former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd on May 25, 2020. City leaders received a high-level briefing of the findings this morning and are digesting its findings.
“This report raises incredibly serious concerns from over the past 10 years, and like many in the community – I am outraged,” said Mayor Jacob Frey. “Since the announcement of this investigation we have not been idle. We’ve moved swiftly to address the culture of the department and move forward on police reforms, but more must be done. The issues in this report are unacceptable. They also do not reflect the character and mindset of every police officer in the force. This report reinforces our need to double-down even further to shift the culture in our police department, to hold up and hire community-oriented officers, and hold those accountable who fall short of our Minneapolis values.”
“We come to work each day to care for and safeguard our community members,” said Interim Chief Amelia Huffman. “Protecting lives, promoting peace, and preserving the rights of each person is how MPD serves our city. During the past two years, we have been moving forward with reforms to ensure we have an effective, constitutional police service that people in our community need and want. We will review this report to make sure we have a clear understanding of each issue raised. We are committed to promoting public trust and officer safety through ongoing investments in our people, training, policies, and processes.”
“We appreciate the work and partnership of MDHR to identify areas within MPD, and the City as a whole, where we are not living up to our shared values,” said City Council Vice President Linea Palmisano. “I look forward to diving deeper into this report to identify how we can best align its findings with the public safety transformation changes we started working toward in 2020.”
“As a Black woman, none of this comes as a surprise to me,” said City Council Member LaTrisha Vetaw, chair of the Public Health & Safety Committee. “I am committed to working with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, Mayor Frey, my Council colleagues, the community, and MPD to implement much-needed reform.”
“We all deserve to be safe and to be respected – unfortunately, today’s report shows us that as an enterprise, we are not consistently upholding these values,” said Interim City Coordinator Heather Johnston. “The findings in the report are disheartening but reflect what community members have been telling City leaders for many years. Unless we dramatically shift the culture of our City government and police force, we will continuously fall short of upholding the values of safety and respect for all of our residents.”
“We have to do the work to make sure every City employee is anti-racist and contributes to a culture that is anti-racist,” said Interim Civil Rights Director Alberder Gillespie. “Our City enterprise has to ensure that we are protecting the civil and human rights of every single member of our community. We will use the findings of this report to further inform the work ahead.”
Mayor Frey and MPD have initiated many reforms in recent years, but City leaders acknowledge a culture shift within the department is crucial to achieving meaningful change. Examples of recent reforms include:
- Duty to intervene: Requires any officer, regardless of tenure or rank who observes another employee use any prohibited force, or inappropriate or unreasonable force (including applying force when it is no longer required), must attempt to intervene by verbal and physical means.
- Duty to report: Requires any officer, regardless of tenure or rank, to immediately report any violation of rules, regulations, or laws that come to their attention.
- Limitations on pretextual stops: Beginning August 2021, at Mayor Frey’s direction, MPD officers ceased conducting pretextual stops for several minor offenses. Officers shall not initiate a traffic stop when the only offense is one of the following:
- Expired tabs.
- Item dangling from rearview mirror (unless that object impairs the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle safely).
- Inoperable license plate lights.
- Warrior-style training ban: In the second year of his administration, Mayor Jacob Frey issued a first-in-the-nation ban on “warrior style” training for officers both on and off duty.
- Procedural justice and implicit bias training: All MPD personnel, sworn and civilian have ongoing procedural justice training. Recruitment, background, hiring and retention efforts all center around procedural justice.
- Field training officers: A new field training officer (FTO) coordinator is managing the transformation of and substantial changes to the structure of the FTO program. These changes include:
- Centralized oversight.
- Increased and ongoing discipline review for FTOs.
- New on-the-job monitoring technology that can track the daily performance of officers in training and the types of calls responded to, and electronically store and track tasks completed.
In addition to the State of Minnesota investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice also has an ongoing pattern or practice investigation into the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Police Department. The investigation will assess all types of force used by MPD officers, including uses of force involving individuals with behavioral health disabilities and uses of force against individuals engaged in activities protected by the First Amendment. The investigation will also assess whether MPD engages in discriminatory policing. The DOJ launched the investigation after Derek Chauvin was found guilty of Floyd’s murder on April 20, 2021.