In an investigation years in the making, US Attorney General Merrick Garland announced what many in Minneapolis already knew- a “systemic problem” with the policies and procedures by the Minneapolis Police Department that no doubt allowed the tragic events surrounding the George Floyd murder in 2020 to happen and bringing the issue to the world stage. But as Garland points out, there were many before George Floyd.
Racial Profiling and Comments
The report details the racial profiling of neighborhoods or encounters with those who criticze the officers or made them angry and an increased use of force or discrimination against those individuals- usually black or native american. The report relied upon hundreds of police reports, officer body cameras, police officals, community and religous leaders. Comments made by an MPD officer to some they encountered, “you don’t have to worry about Black people during the day ‘cuz they haven’t woken up—crime starts at night.” Another comment made by an MDP officer to four Somali American teens, “do you remember what happened in Black Hawk Down. When we killed a bunch of your folk? I’m proud of that. We didn’t finish the job over there. If we had, you guys wouldn’t be over here right now.’”
Excessive Use of Force
The report found that the MPD used excessive deadly force when unwarranted and shooting their firearm without determining an immediate threat. The report cites one instance where a woman called 911 to report a sexual assault in an alley. When officers arrived one officer noted that the woman “spooked” him. The officer shot her after she approached the squad car. The report also found systematic excessive use of force against those accused of low level offenses (George Floyd) citing anger or disrespect the officers felt.
Unsurprisingly, the report revealed that the MPD stopped African Americans 6.5 times more than White Americans and Native Americans 7.9 times more. During these stops the report found that the officers were more likely to use excessive force and discriminate against these individuals. This data coming from more than 187,000 pedestrain and traffic stops.
Attorney General Garland announced that the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Police Department have agreed on a path forward whereby the DOJ will monitor the recommedned changes from the report. For their part, the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis PD seem ready to make the necessary changes and move forward. Maybe one day soon all citizens of Minneapolis can hope the Police are there to protect and help.