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 a 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 from people injured during the 2020 George Floyd uprising, and injured parties are forcing MPD reforms though lawsuits.

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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.

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News: Historic vote on blood quantum rule, Marlene Helgemo walks on, MPD Settlement Agreement expected by Fall

In this post:

  • Minnesota Chippewa Tribe has historic vote to stop using colonial ‘blood quantum rules’ to define membership
  • Marlene Helgemo walks on
  • City of Minneapolis, MN Dept. of Human Rights, announce principles, timeframe on Settlement Agreement to address police department’s pattern of racial discrimination
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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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MN Human Rights Commissioner: State Needs to Listen to Indigenous Concerns About Crude Oil Pipeline

Kevin Lindsey, Commissioner of the Minnesota Dept. of Human Rights, says the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) had not done enough to respect indigenous rights in the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline debate.

Lindsey wrote a letter to the PUC as part of the final comment period on the state’s environmental impact statement (EIS). At issue was whether or not the state would require a traditional cultural properties survey along the proposed pipeline route prior to signing off on the EIS. Lindsey said it was important to get the survey right before moving forward; the PUC ultimately disagreed, approving the final EIS last week.

According to Lindsey’s Feb. 27 letter:

Refusing to recognize Tribal nations’ rights, needs, and concerns on a project that impact their land is a detriment to all indigenous peoples, to our state, and to our democracy. Human rights are advanced when we recognized historical injustices and make changes to our systems so they do not occur again. MDHR supports a process in which Tribal nations are consulted and listened to as true partners in this complex project.

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