MPD Consent Decree is late, Minneapolis revamp of police oversight is weak, a national look at non-fatal police shootings

Minneapolis leaders and Minnesota Department of Human Rights (DHR) apparently have hit snag negotiating a Consent Decree in response to the DHR’s scathing report, released last April, identifying a pattern and practice of racial discrimination by the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD).

Meanwhile, city officials have put forward a weak proposal to reform police oversight of MPD. Settlements are still coming in form people injured during the 2020 George Floyd uprising, and injured parties are forcing MPD reforms though lawsuits.

Continue reading

Hubbard Co. Sheriff abused his power and won’t face consequences

Law enforcement line at Namewag in Hubbard County, July 28, 2021. Photo: The Giniw Collective.

Across the country, law enforcement’s credibility is under scrutiny. To regain it, it’s essential that it’s impartial in deed and in public perception.

The state and law enforcement did themselves damage in how they responded to water protectors resisting the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline in 2020-2021. The state approved a plan allowing Enbridge to fund an escrow account to reimburse law enforcement agencies for any Line 3-related costs. Those law enforcement agencies collectively received $8.5 million.

The Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office received nearly half a million dollars from the Enbridge escrow account. It also abused its power to intimidate those at Namewag, a camp set up by Giniw, an Indigenous women-led environmental protection group. At Namewag, they practiced traditional Anishinaabe ways and also actively opposed Line 3.

On June 28, 2021 the Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office organized a shock-and-awe law enforcement response to Namewag … because it didn’t have an easement to drive a short stretch of county-owned land, the camp’s only access.

Let that soak in. Look at all the deputies in the photo above, and ask: Does this make sense over an easement infraction?

Continue reading

Judge dismisses charges against five of the ‘Shell River Seven’ who opposed Line 3

Honor the Earth envisions Line 3 exhibit in Park Rapids

Shell River Seven standoff

A District Court judge in Wadena County Monday dismissed gross misdemeanor charges against five of the “Shell River Seven” who peacefully tried to protect the Shell River and Anishinaabe treaty rights against the construction of the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline.

“Criminalizing and over-charging protestors is a common tactic used by the State to scare activists and suppress movements,” Claire Glenn, an attorney for two of the defendants, said in a media release. “The criminalization of the Shell River defendants was no exception, and this dismissal is a powerful victory for water protectors.”

Continue reading

Meet Tyeastia Green, the woman tapped to jump start Minneapolis’ stalled racial equity work

Last spring, the city of Minneapolis hired Tyeastia Green to restart the racial justice work that collapsed after most staff in the city’s Division of Race and Equity quit in frustration. Mayor Frey’s budget proposes that Green lead a newly created Department of Racial Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging.

Green’s putting together an ambitious agenda, including the annual publication of the “Minneapolis Inequity Report,” more robust and ongoing racial equity trainings for city employees, and fundraising for projects she can’t do within her city budget.

Continue reading

Wounded Knee land purchase, Water Protectors court win, and other news

In this post:

  • Land purchase preserves Wounded Knee sacred site
  • Another win for Water Protectors, court finds law enforcement acted illegally
  • Congressional hearing Wednesday morning to address aggressive corporate lawsuits against environmental activists
  • A fix is in the works to significantly reduce mining’s wild rice-damaging sulfate pollution
  • Still no answers on knife attack in Cree territory that left 10 dead, 18 injured
Continue reading

Minneapolis seeks public comments on police contract negotiations, appointment of city’s first Community Safety Commissioner

In this post:

  • City of Minneapolis holds community listening sessions on police union contract negotiations
  • Minneapolis City Council to hold public hearing Tuesday on Cedric Alexander’s nomination as the city’s first Community Safety Commissioner
  • Unity Church hosts concert to support Indigenous rights and stop the Huber Lumber Mill Project
Continue reading

Proposed rule would make support of white supremacist or hate groups a violation of police ‘standards of conduct’

The Minnesota Police Officers Standards and Training (POST) Board is considering a new rule for licensed officers that would make support or involvement in white supremacist, hate, or extremist groups a violation of police ‘standards of conduct.’

It’s one of three rule changes under the POST Board’s review.

Any officer violating the code of conduct is subject to discipline, ranging from a reprimand to termination.

Another proposal would require law enforcement agencies to adopt a policy around police responses to public assemblies, crowd control, and use of force.

A public comment period on the rule changes is open for one more week, until Wednesday, July 20.

Continue reading

The roller coaster that is Minneapolis police reform

Let’s take a look at the ups and downs of proposed Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) reform and where things stand now. Bottom line: The Consent Decree being negotiated by the city and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights seems the best hope for accountability.

Continue reading