Key takeaways from MN Human Rights investigation of MPD | MPR News

April 30, 2022

Key takeaways from MN Human Rights investigation of MPD | MPR News:

Traffic Stops

While Black community members make up 19 percent of the Minneapolis population, they are 78 percent of all searches conducted during traffic stops. MPD officers are almost two times as likely to search Black community members or their vehicles. Between 2017 and 2020, MPD officers stopped 72,689 individuals across all five precincts. 54 percent of those stopped were Black. Black individuals also make up 75 percent of the searchers conducted by MPD officers.

Use of Force

In the first precinct, which servers downtown Minneapolis, MPD officers were six times more likely to use some type of force against Black individuals when they were stopped.

Arrests

Seventy one percent or over 2,5000 of all arrests MPD officers made during traffic stops from January 1, 2017 to May 24, 2020 were arrests of Black individuals. MPD officers are almost twice as likely to arrest a Black individual compared to a white individual for the same recorded reason, in the same location and at the same time of day.

Unjustified Citations

It was found that MPD officers excessively cite Black individuals with specific offenses such as “disorderly conduct” and “obstruction of the legal process.” From 2010 to 2020, MPD officers cited over 3,300 Black individuals with disorderly conduct or obstruction – 66 percent of all of the citations issued for these offenses.

Use of Social Media

While there are legitimate reasons MPD may use social media to track activity, some MPD officers created fake social media accounts to troll Black residents, organizations and elected officials. They did not do the same to white residents.

Some accounts sent friend requests, commented on posts and sent private messages pretending to be “like-minded individuals.”

In one case, a MPD officer made a fake account posing as a Black community member and sent a message to a local branch of the NAACP criticizing the group.

They also sent messages to to a Minneapolis City Council member and State elected official while posing as community members.

Hateful Language

Through the racist culture created at MPD, it was further found that racist, misogynistic and hateful language was used by officers and those using said language were not held accountable.

According to body worn camera footage, interviews with officers and statements, some MPD officers and supervisors use racist slurs. They often use animalistic terms toward people of color and sexist language toward women. This language has been used against community members, other officers and even 911 dispatchers.

Officers who are the subject of these comments often do not report the said officers because of a lack of faith in the accountability system as well as fearing retaliation from other officers.

Hennepin County prosecutors reported that MPD officers are “much less professional and respectful” than officers from other departments in the county. Since 1993, MPD has had a policy requiring officers to use professional language with community members but city and county prosecutors note that it can be difficult to rely on body worn camera video in court because of how “disrespectful and offensive” MPD officers are to criminal suspects, witnesses and bystanders.

“Warrior Mode”

While Minneapolis banned “warrior style training,” much of MPD’s current training consists of a “warrior mindset.” This mindset is described as believing that every person an officer encounters poses a threat.

MPD’s training materials show that the department reinforces a culture of race-based policing by introducing their mentality to new officers and reinforcing the concepts in veteran officers.

Training

MPD officers are not held accountable due to ineffective oversight systems. No meaningful independent review process exists for assessing officers conduct. Almost every investigation of a police misconduct complaint against an MPD officer is assessed by sworn MPD officers.

The Police Conduct Oversight Commission has been deemed “ineffective” by the Department of Human Rights as they claim it lacks appropriate resources and capacity.

Between January 2010 and May 2021, the average time it took to complete an investigation and for a Police Chief to issue a disciplinary decision was over 475 days. Officers may be engaging in the same problematic policing during this investigation time.

If only we had this data before everyone else voted to maintain the force in its current state… This is horrific.

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