Minneapolis Police Department pattern of discrimination violates humans rights

MPD to go through a series of reforms after findings


Ivan Zank

After the murder of George Floyd in 2020, a formal investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department was opened, and finally after two years it has been concluded that the Minneapolis Police Department is in violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act. 

These findings were supported by a 72-page document where the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) states that the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) engages in a pattern of racial discrimination. This document references the MPD’s use of excessive force against Black and Brown people compared to white people, as well as the use of social media to survey Black organizations and people who are not involved in any crimes. The MPD has also been proven to use an excessive amount of racist and misogynistic language. 

I find these discoveries to be completely disgusting. It makes me wonder how the police department can claim to protect and serve everyone, but then actively do the opposite when it comes to people of color (POC). It’s so dehumanizing that the MPD uses social media to surveil Black people who aren’t even related to crime in any way. What does the MPD think they are accomplishing by doing this? These findings just make it more and more evident to me that the MPD has been racist and discriminatory for years, but that no one wanted to address it until riots and looting started to happen.

In June 2020 the MDHR asked for a temporary court order to immediately execute public safety changes. After the order was granted, the MPD was required to completely ban the use of neck restaurants or choke holds, to try and stop another officer if they are engaged in excessive force, regardless of rank. If they don’t, they would be punished as if they were the one using force. The Police chief, Amelia Huffman, was required to authorize crowd control weapons and that officers could only use these when necessary as well as to hand over police body cam footage to uncover a pattern of discrimination. 

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey spoke about the findings in a press conference with LaTrisha Vetaw, Minneapolis City Council member and Saray Garnett-Hochuli, Minneapolis Director of Regulatory Services. Vetaw says that the findings are horrifying but as a Black woman, they are not surprising.  

I completely agree with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights findings. For years, there has been evidence that the MPD uses their power to harass Black people and only now is any progress being made. It makes me sick to my stomach that it took a man’s murder and public outrage to finally make people take this seriously but I am glad that change is finally coming. 

The MPD is a corrupt system that was built on dehumanizing Black men and women and prioritizing white safety over POC wellbeing. While I’m happy that the city is finally recognizing this and actively trying to change the beliefs of many police officers, this change is not going to happen overnight. Many police officers who have been on the force for a while are used to the way the police department works and will not accept these new changes easily. Not to mention how politically controversial police reforms have become, these changes will be in public view and almost everyone will have an opinion on it. 

Making these reforms — while necessary — does not change the police brutality Black people have experienced for years. I know that a lot of Black kids are told to keep their heads down and be quiet when the police pull them over, and I don’t think the fear of police is going to change even after these reforms are made. It’s definitely a step in the right direction that the MPD is becoming self aware, but again these changes aren’t going to happen overnight and will probably not impact public opinion of the MPD.