The Minnesota Department of Human Rights finds probable cause that the city of Minneapolis and its police department “engage in a pattern or practice of race discrimination in violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act,” according to a report released Wednesday.
The investigation found that MPD was more likely to use force, stop and search vehicles, issue citations, and arrest people of color and Indigenous individuals than white people. The report details widespread use of racist and misogynistic language. The MDHR report is the result of a two-year investigation following the MPD murder of George Floyd.
MPD officers also used covert and fake social media accounts to target Black leaders, organizations, and elected officials – all without a public safety objective, the report said. The investigation also found MPD is still holding paramilitary-style training that encourages officers to be aggressive toward community members and to escalate situations; and allowing police with substantiated claims of excessive force to remain as training officers.
“This damning report on MPD is a stinging indictment of a police culture that’s steeped in racial discrimination and built on years of ineffective leadership and training, and a complete lack of accountability,” said ACLU-MN Legal Director Teresa Nelson. “While these findings are sadly not surprising to advocates or our community, they do once again underscore the need to completely rethink policing. As the report points out, without fundamental organizational change, reforming MPD will be meaningless.”
“MPD’s use of fake social media accounts to surveil Black activists and organizations such as the NAACP and Urban League, without any public safety objective, is a racist and deeply disturbing invasion of privacy. It hearkens back to the racially targeted surveillance tactics of COINTELPRO,” said ACLU-MN Policy Associate Munira Mohamed. “Police using these fake accounts to attack critics is essentially a mass-coordinated disinformation campaign. Racist use of technology is as harmful as racist cops on the street.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that promotes, protects, and extends the civil liberties and civil rights of all Minnesotans through litigation, lobbying, and community engagement.