Probe slams Minneapolis police over racism, fake social media accounts
A newly released probe found that the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) engaged in race-based policing, failed to hold officers accountable for wrongdoing, and improperly used social media accounts to target Black people and Black organizations.
In its report published Wednesday, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) detailed how officers had stooped, searched, arrested, cited and used excessive force toward Black and Indigenous people at a higher rate than their white counterparts.
Of 14 individuals MPD officers have killed since 2010, 13 were Black or Indigenous, the report noted.
The department said it reviewed 700 hours of body-worn camera footage and nearly 480,000 pages of documents, finding MPD officers used racist, misogynistic and otherwise disrespectful language toward suspects, witnesses and bystanders.
“When MPD officers scream obscenities at community members, it makes it challenging for prosecutors to do their job and therefore undermines the criminal justice system,” the department wrote in its report.
The MDHR’s report also noted that the department’s accountability systems are ineffective at holding officers accountable for misconduct, noting that instances of police misconduct are not properly investigated or addressed, meaning officers are not consistently held accountable.
The report also found that the MPD used various social media accounts to target Black leaders, Black organizations and elected officials without a public safety objective during the 10-year period.
“Specifically, MPD officers sent friend requests, commented on posts, sent private messages, and contributed to discussions,” the report said. “When doing so, officers posed as like-minded individuals and claimed, for example, that they met the targeted person at a prior demonstration or protest. In social media posts and messages, MPD officers used language to further racial stereotypes associated with Black people, especially Black women.”
The human rights agency launched its investigation amid the fallout from the police-involved killing of George Floyd in May 2020, which sparked national outrage and protests demanding an end to police brutality and racial inequality.
Derek Chauvin, the officer convicted of murder for kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, asked the court this week to appeal his conviction. Chauvin is currently serving a prison sentence of 22 ½ years.
“Following the murder of George Floyd, demands to end discriminatory policing practices reverberated across the world,” MDHR Commissioner Rebecca Lucero said in a statement.
“Those demands remain just as urgent today with the announcement of the investigative findings which paints an unsettling picture of the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Police Department engaging in a pattern of racial discrimination over the last decade,” Lucero added.