Minneapolis Police Engaged In Years-Long Pattern Of Racial Discrimination, Post-George Floyd Investigation Claims


The Minneapolis Police Department has disproportionately searched, criminally cited and used force against the city’s Black residents, state investigators said in a report Wednesday, closing out a sweeping investigation into the city’s police force that began shortly after an officer killed George Floyd almost two years ago.

Key Facts

The blistering 72-page report by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights accused the city of Minneapolis and its police department of violating state law by engaging in a “pattern or practice of racial discrimination.”

Citing data from 2010 to 2020, the report said Minneapolis police were far more likely to use chokeholds, neck restraints, mace and pepper spray against Black residents than white residents, even among people with similar behavior (a temporary court order in June 2020 forced the city to stop using chokeholds, among other reforms).

Black drivers in Minneapolis were also more likely to be pulled over by police from 2017 to 2020, and they faced searches and citations during traffic stops more frequently than white drivers, including among residents stopped by police in similar circumstances.

Black residents accounted for the majority of disorderly conduct and obstruction citations issued by Minneapolis police in the decade ending in 2020, despite making up less than 20% of the city’s population—the report noted these offenses can leave residents with legal bills and job loss even if the charges are eventually dropped.

The report also claimed Minneapolis police set up fake social media accounts to “surveil and engage Black individuals, Black organizations, and elected officials unrelated to criminal activity,” a tactic it said wasn’t used on white residents to the same degree.

Investigators blamed these patterns on the Minneapolis Police Department’s culture: The report said police training instilled a “warrior mindset” and “paramilitary” approach that could lead to unnecessary escalation when dealing with the public, and officers accused of poor behavior often faced inadequate investigations and inconsistent discipline.

In a statement, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said he’s “outraged” about the issues exposed by the report, which he said “reinforces our need to double-down even further to shift the culture in our police department.”

Crucial Quote

“[The Minneapolis Police Department] maintains an organizational culture where officers are trained to be aggressive towards community members, which leads to officers escalating situations and often using inappropriate levels of force,” the report said.

Surprising Fact

Citing body camera footage, interviews with police and statements from local residents, the state report listed off instances of Minneapolis police officers using racist, sexist and disrespectful language. It claimed unprofessional behavior was sometimes so extreme that local prosecutors have said “it can be difficult to rely on MPD officers’ body worn camera video in court because of how disrespectful and offensive MPD officers are to criminal suspects, witnesses, and bystanders.”

What To Watch For

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights—a state agency led by an appointee of Gov. Tim Walz (D)—said it will seek a legally binding consent decree with the city of Minneapolis to change how its police department operates. In the meantime, it also recommended more immediate changes like better training and more accountability for police officers accused of wrongdoing.

Key Background

The Minneapolis Police Department drew national attention in May 2020, after officer Derek Chauvin was videotaped pinning Floyd’s neck to the ground for more than nine minutes during an arrest, leading to Floyd’s death. Chauvin was found guilty of murder last year, and three other officers present at the scene were convicted of violating Floyd’s civil rights. The death sparked nationwide protests, and brought to the fore older allegations that police in Minneapolis have used force excessively and discriminated based on race. Some Minneapolis residents have pushed for broad reforms to the city’s police force, though a ballot measure aiming to disband the police department and replace it with a new, restructured “Department of Public Safety” was rejected by the city’s voters last year.


The Department of Justice launched its own investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department last year, but that probe still hasn’t released any results.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/joewalsh/2022/04/27/minneapolis-police-engaged-in-years-long-pattern-of-racial-discrimination-post-george-floyd-investigation-claims/