State prohibits inspection of data underlying MPD human rights report

The 480,000 pages of underlying data that purportedly support the report are "non-public."

Wesley Tingey/Unsplash

The state of Minnesota will not allow the public to view the materials that underlay a recent report accusing the Minneapolis Police Department of routinely violating human rights.

The report, compiled by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR), concluded that “there is probable cause that the City and MPD engage in a pattern or practice of race discrimination in violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act.” Specifically, the report says MPD officers take harsher action against black people than white people in similar circumstances, use offensive language, and maintain anonymous social media accounts “to surveil black individuals and organizations.”

However, when Power Line’s Scott Johnson asked the MDHR to let him see the 480,000 pages of material that purportedly support its scathing conclusion, he was told this is impossible.

“There is no public data available beyond what’s available in the 72-page findings and posted on our website,” communications director Taylor Putz confirmed.

Johnson posted the text of the email he received from the MDHR on Power Line.

This means residents and the media cannot factcheck the report’s conclusions. In light of this, Johnson dismissed the entire MDHR document as “questionable at best and in certain respects laughable on its face.”

He has previously articulated other criticisms of the report, the most basic of which addresses its scope. The document relies on data that was gathered before the recent and substantial reforms implemented in the MPD.

Another criticism, which has even been echoed by the left-wing Star Tribune editorial board, regards the report’s methodology for comparing treatment of suspects across racial groups.

“Questions also may be raised about some of the statistical conclusions in the report,” the board writes. “Data comparing arrests under ‘similar circumstances’ is critical and damning, but many factors beyond race and bias could complicate drawing broad conclusions about some disparities.”

The potentially shaky foundations of the report, however, have not stopped Minneapolis city leaders like Mayor Jacob Frey and former Mayor RT Rybak from condemning the police.