Black people 7 times more likely than whites to face police force in Minneapolis: report
Black Americans in Minneapolis — where the police killing of George Floyd last week has sparked nationwide protests — are seven times more likely to have force used against them by the Minneapolis Police Department than white residents, according to an analysis by The New York Times.
In its analysis, the Times reviewed Minneapolis police data from 2015 onward.
Since then, Minneapolis police have recorded using force (kicks, neck holds, punches, shoves, takedowns, mace, stun guns, etc.) around 11,500 times. Of those instances, 6,650 of them were against someone who was black. Comparatively, the department reported the use of force against white people 2,750 times.
For further context, Minneapolis has a population of 430,000; black people make up 20 percent of the city’s residents, while white people make up 60 percent.
David Schultz, a professor at Hamline University in St. Paul, told the Times that he’s described Minneapolis to his students as “a living laboratory on everything you shouldn’t do when it comes to police use of force.”
“It just mirrors the disparities of so many other things in which Minneapolis comes in very badly,” Schultz, who has studied police tactics in the area for two decades, said. “We have a pattern that goes back at least a generation.
The Times also looked at how many times Minneapolis police utilized neck restraints or chokeholds. Floyd was killed when former officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes, continuing to do so after Floyd appeared to be unconscious.
Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter on Friday. An independent medical examiner this week ruled Floyd’s death a homicide. While on the force, Chauvin received 17 complaints of misconduct, though he was never disciplined.
According to the Times, “unconscious neck restraints,” defined as when an officer is trying to force someone unconscious, were used by the department 44 times since 2015; 27 of the times black people were the subject of the restraint.
Dave Bicking, formerly of the Minneapolis civilian police review authority, told the paper that Chauvin’s fatal choking of Floyd didn’t fall under the department’s neck restraint policy, but rather as an unlawful type of body-weight pin, since Chauvin applied pressure to the front of Floyd’s neck.
In the past five years, body-weight pinning has been the most frequent use of force administered by the department, the Times says. It was used around 2,200 times on black people, over twice the amount of times it was reported used on white people.
Floyd’s death has caused nationwide protests and civil unrest, with demonstrators highlighting the mistreatment and oppression of black Americans by the country’s law enforcement and justice system.
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