Opportunities to learn about, shape, the Minneapolis Police Department’s consent decree

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights (DHR) is working with the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) to develop a consent decree — a court-enforced, legally binding agreement to ensure compliance with reforms. This follows DHR’s April report finding the city and MPD were engaging in a pattern or practice of race discrimination, in violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

There are several upcoming opportunities to learn more about how the process works and to have a say in what you think the consent decree should include.

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MN Human Rights Dept. seeks public comments on Minneapolis Police Dept. Consent Decree

In this post:

  • MN Human Rights Dept. seeks public comment on Consent Decree to address Minneapolis Police Dept. racism, abuses
  • Lesson for Minnesota? Research on Chicago PD suggests police misconduct portrayed as is “bad apples” is really a group phenomenon
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Minneapolis Police Reforms: Another one bites the dust?

The Minneapolis Police Conduct Oversight Commission (PCOC) is in disarray. Its chair resigned earlier this year, frustrated over the commission’s ineffectiveness. Four of the commission’s nine seats are vacant. The commission has cancelled three of its last nine monthly meetings.

One key part of the PCOC’s work is to research and evaluate Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) polices. It then publishes reports with recommendations to the city. The commission hasn’t published a report since before George Floyd’s 2020 murder, according to the city’s website.

At it’s most recent meeting, April 12, the four members in attendance were expressing frustration that they couldn’t meet their mission due to a lack of resources and limits on the commission’s authority.

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Mayor Frey expresses ‘outrage’ at MPD human rights violations … why is he surprised?

A nearly two-year investigation has found probable cause that the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) have engaged in a pattern or practice of discriminatory, race-based policing, violating the Minnesota Human Rights Act, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (DHR) said Wednesday.

The report’s major findings said:

  • “MPD officers, supervisors, and field training officers receive deficient training, which emphasizes a paramilitary approach to policing that results in officers unnecessarily escalating encounters or using inappropriate levels of force.”
  • “Accountability systems are insufficient and ineffective at holding officers accountable for misconduct. … Instances of police misconduct are not properly investigated, not timely addressed, and officers are not held consistently accountable.”
  • “Former and current City and MPD leaders have not collectively acted with the urgency, coordination, and intentionality necessary to address racial disparities in policing to improve public safety and increase community trust.”

Addressing those issues alone is insufficient, the report said. “Without fundamental organizational culture changes, reforming MPD’s policies, procedures, and trainings will be meaningless.”

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Nearly two years after George Floyd’s murder, still looking for leadership on transforming law enforcement

Say thousands of angry citizens stormed the streets because our drinking water was polluted and the government wasn’t fixing it. Police are called in from multiple jurisdictions to quell the unrest. Citizens report multiple cases of excessive use of force.

When the dust settles, would our most urgent task be to figure out how to fix law enforcement’s crowd control?

No. We’d be rushing to find ways to get clean drinking water.

So when angry citizens take to the streets because of police brutality — such as what happened after George Floyd’s murder — why are we focusing on improving law enforcement practices and slow to act on a law enforcement system that makes many people feel unsafe, and be unsafe?

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Water protector wins civil rights appeal against Morton County for excessive force used during DAPL resistance

Water protector Marcus Mitchell won a victory in the Eighth District Court of Appeals today; the ruling reversed a lower court decision that dismissed his excessive force claims.

Mitchell’s lawsuit now goes back to lower court for further deliberations.

Morton County Sheriff’s deputies shot Mitchell with lead-filled bean bags while he peacefully protested the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in 2017. One of those bean bags hit him in the head, shattering his eye socket. (Photo here.) Mitchell lost sight in his left eye, and has partial hearing loss in his left ear, an article in The Guardian said.

The decision is powerful in how it paints a clear picture of Morton County’s excessive use of force against many water protectors.

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‘After Action Report’ for Minneapolis’ response to the George Floyd uprising lacks perspective, credibility

Police protect the Third Precinct on the first night of protests over George Floyd’s murder.

The After Action Report on Minneapolis’ response to the George Floyd uprising, released last week, pounds lumps on city leaders for their lack of preparation and leadership, but mostly spares the Minneapolis Police Department from criticism.

The report fails to paint a full picture. It centers voices of police and city officials, not residents. It only looks at the public expression of anger during the short period of the uprising; it ignores police violence over many years that built up that anger.

Most of the blame falls to the city. It didn’t ask the consultants to look at context, and context is everything. It asked the consultants such things as how the city could better prepare “for future civil disturbances” rather than how to prevent them.

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American Indian population increases in Minnesota and nationally, climate crisis in Indian Country, and more

In this blog:

  • U.S. Census: American Indian/Alaska Native population increased in the past decade
  • Indian Country Today: Climate crisis in Indian Country
  • MPR: St. Benedict nuns apologize for Native boarding school
  • The Conversation: Indigenous land defenders get much more police scrutiny than right-wing protesters
  • Registration open for 2021 Overcoming Racism Conference
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