State: Minneapolis police engaged in ‘patterns’ of discrimination

The state investigation is separate from the federal investigation announced on April 21, 2020.

The back end of a Minneapolis police car parked in Minneapolis. (Shutterstock)

(The Center Square) — A state government report found “probable cause” that the city of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) engaged “in a pattern or practice of race discrimination in violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act.”

After the April 2020 police arrest that killed George Floyd, 46, the state launched the probe into the city and MPD practices.

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) found that the MPD engages in a pattern or practice of discriminatory, race-based policing shown by:

  • “Racial disparities in how MPD officers use force, stop, search, arrest, and cite people of color, particularly Black individuals, compared to white individuals in similar circumstances.”
  • “MPD officers use covert social media to surveil Black individuals and organizations unrelated to criminal activity.”
  • “MPD officers’ consistent use of racist, misogynistic, and disrespectful language.”

The report said the pattern or practice of discriminatory, race-based policing is caused primarily by an organizational culture where:

  • “MPD officers, supervisors, and field training officers receive inadequate 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.”
  • “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.”

MDHR investigators reviewed about 700 hours of body-worn camera footage and nearly 480,000 pages of documents, including training materials, disciplinary records, and policy development materials, to write the report.

The MDHR also interviewed and took statements from more than 2,000 people, observed about 87 hours of 2021 MPD Academy training for new officer hires, and completed multiple ride-alongs with MPD officers in each of the five precincts.

The MDHR analyzed MPD’s data on all recorded use of force incidents across five precincts over ten years; city data from January 1, 2017, to May 24, 2020, on traffic stops; and prosecutions, including searches, arrests, and citations stemming from those stops.

The state investigation is separate from the federal investigation announced on April 21, 2020.

The MDHR will work with the city to develop a consent decree, a court-enforceable agreement of a timeline to make specific changes that include independent oversight.

The MDHR will meet with community members, MPD officers, city staff, and other stakeholders to gather feedback on what should be included in a consent decree to address issues in policing in Minneapolis.


Scott McClallen
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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on and Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.