Chris Lange, FISM News
Minnesota’s Department of Human Rights has determined that the state’s police officers engage in patterns of racial discrimination in a report the agency released Wednesday.
The 72-page report culminates a two-year report investigation stemming from the May 29, 2020 death of George Floyd while in police custody. Floyd was arrested outside a Minneapolis convenience store after the owner accused him of attempting to pass a counterfeit $20 bill. During the arrest of Floyd, who was black, Officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes, resulting in Floyd’s death. The following month, the MDHR charged the Minneapolis Police Department with engaging in racial discrimination in violation of the city’s Human Rights Act.
The agency defined the violation as “a pattern or practice of discrimination…where the denial of rights consists of something more than isolated, sporadic incidents, but is repeated, routine, or of a generalized nature.”
The investigation consisted of a review of City and MPD documents, including training materials; officers’ disciplinary records; internal and external communications; and “data from MPD’s covert social media accounts.” The MDHR also reviewed body-cam footage and officer training videos as well as MPD data on “all recorded use of force incidents across MPD’s five precincts from January 1, 2010, to December 31, 2020.”
“After completing a comprehensive investigation, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights finds there is probable cause that the City and MPD engage in a pattern or practice of race discrimination in violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act,” the report stated.
The investigation, according to the report, yielded evidence of “race-based” policing, including “racial disparities” in use of force and arrest outcomes. The MDHR said officers used “covert social media to surveil Black individuals and Black organizations, unrelated to criminal activity.”
The MHRD also cites law enforcement’s “consistent use of racist, misogynistic, and disrespectful language.”
The report concludes with a list of recommendations by MHRD Commissioner Rebecca Lucero “to address race-based policing and improve public safety.” The commissioner said the City and MPD must take immediate steps “to improve police accountability and oversight” and ensure prompt and unbiased investigations into police misconduct allegations.
Lucero also said police department supervisors should coach “officers in need of performance management” and engage in “progressive discipline” when appropriate.
“Importantly, City and MPD leaders can also analyze MPD’s policing data to identify, track, and seek to correct race-based policing and other concerning patterns. All of these changes collectively, with strong organizational leadership, will result in improved accountability and oversight,” Lucero concluded.
The death of George Floyd sparked riots in major cities throughout the country and abroad, many of which became violent, with anti-cop protesters looting and burning businesses and police precincts. The death sparked the “defund the Police” movement embraced by progressive Democrats and activist groups including Antifa and BLM. This rhetoric, in turn, ignited a spate of deadly attacks on law enforcement. FBI Director Christopher Wray recently said ambush attacks on officers continue to increase and don’t receive “enough attention.”
National Fraternal Order of Police President Patrick Yoes said in a February press release that ambush-style attacks on law enforcement increased 115% last year.
“Our officers are not just in harm’s way due to the dangerous nature of their profession but are too often targets of cowardly individuals whose sole motivation is to injure or kill a law enforcement officer,” Yoes said, calling out “the violence our officers encounter in every community.”
“Law enforcement officers are being shot while serving the communities they love,” he continued. “This violence is completely unacceptable, and it must end. It is incumbent upon our elected officials and community leaders to stand up and speak out against the violence against law enforcement officers.”