ACLU accuses Minneapolis police of 'racial bias'

ACLU accuses Minneapolis police of 'racial bias'
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Civil rights advocates are shining the spotlight on Minneapolis police for allegedly racially profiling black people as tensions around the country heat up between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

African-Americans are nearly nine times more likely than white people to be arrested for low-level crimes in Minneapolis, according to an investigation by the American Civil Liberties Union. 

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Native Americans see a similarly high arrest rate.

The ACLU said this is evidence of “extreme racial disparities” and over-criminalization of black people in Minneapolis, and called for sweeping reforms to clean up the police department.

“Minneapolis police show the same patterns of racial bias that we’re seeing across the country and that demand reform,” said ACLU staff attorney Emma Andersson. “In Minneapolis, the eyes of the law look at blacks and Native Americans differently than whites.”

The report comes as police in Ferguson, Mo., New York, Cleveland and, most recently, Baltimore have been criticized for overly aggressive arrest tactics used against black people in these communities.

The ACLU says the problem is no different in Minneapolis, where it examined more than 96,000 low-level arrests made between January 2012 and September 2014.

The racial profiling extends to black children, the ACLU argued.

In Minneapolis, African-Americans under the age of 18 are nearly six times more likely to be arrested than white youths.