Minneapolis Approves Police Overhaul 3 Years After George Floyd’s Death
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Minneapolis agreed to reform the city’s police department, according to an announcement Friday, nearly three years after George Floyd was killed by police.

Key Facts

The Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved a number of police reforms in a settlement agreement with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, which sued the city after a 2022 investigation indicated its police department had “engaged in a pattern or practice of race discrimination.”

The 144-page settlement, which still requires court approval, contains new policies regarding aggressive police tactics and officer misconduct, including a requirement for officers to intervene if they see another officer breaking the law.

Officers will also no longer be allowed to pull over a driver for simple mechanical issues, like a broken tail light, and they are no longer allowed to search and frisk someone if they smell of marijuana.

Other reforms include new guidelines for the use of body-worn and dashboard cameras, training, how officers respond to mental health and behavioral crises and a requirement for officers to engage with community members “without resorting to the use of force” by using de-escalation tactics.

A plan to revamp the police department will take four years, according to City Attorney Kristyn Anderson, who said an “independent evaluator” and 27 additional full-time employees will be hired to oversee its implementation and monitor compliance.

Crucial Quote

Council member Robin Wonsley said she hopes the reforms are “a wake-up call for city leaders,” according to the Associated Press.

What To Watch For

The Justice Department is still investigating whether Minneapolis police engaged in a “pattern or practice” of discrimination, which could lead to additional reforms, though results from that probe have yet to be released.

Key Background

An investigation by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights was launched after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, killed Floyd in Minneapolis after kneeling on his neck for over nine minutes. A subsequent report by investigators said the Minneapolis Police Department disproportionately searched, criminally cited and used force against the city’s Black residents. The report also claimed 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 was not used on white residents to the same degree. U.S. Attorney W. Anders Folk said Floyd’s death and possible discrimination tactics used by the Minneapolis Police Department caused city residents to “want a public safety system that protects and serves all members of our community.” City residents rejected a proposal in 2021 to replace the police department with a public health-oriented “Department of Public Safety,” which some residents suggested was not a sufficient solution, as a ballot question indicated the new department could include former police officers.

Further Reading

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

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