July 14, 2024

US Justice Department Releases Scathing Report Revealing ‘Systemic Racism’ and ‘Unconstitutional Conduct’ by Minneapolis Police Following George Floyd’s Death

A woman holds a Do You Feel Us? sign at silent march for justice for George Floyd in downtown Minneapolis
A woman holds a Do You Feel Us? sign at silent march for justice for George Floyd in downtown Minneapolis

A long-awaited report released by the Department of Justice on Friday reveals disturbing systemic abuses and discrimination within the Minneapolis Police Department.

The investigation was initiated following the murder of George Floyd, a Black man who died in May 2020 at the age of 46, while in police custody, sparking nationwide protests against police brutality.

The report found substantial evidence indicating a “pattern or practice of conduct” by police officers that violated people’s constitutional rights and federal law.

It accuses the Minneapolis police of engaging in unlawful discrimination against Black and Native American individuals, neglecting the health concerns of arrestees, and infringing upon the First Amendment rights of protesters and journalists during demonstrations.

The implications of the report could lead to a court-enforced agreement mandating comprehensive reforms within the city’s police force.

Over the past years, the department has experienced a loss of officers and diminished community support in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death.

Key Takeaways from the Report:

  1. Among 19 police shootings between 2016 and 2022, a significant portion were deemed unconstitutional uses of deadly force.
  2. The report highlights the Minneapolis Police Department’s discriminatory practices against Black and Native American people.
  3. Officers were found to have violated the rights of arrestees by disregarding their health complaints.
  4. The department’s response to protests involved violating the First Amendment rights of demonstrators and journalists.
  5. Previous investigations have implicated police departments in cities like Chicago and Baltimore for civil rights violations.
  6. The death of George Floyd triggered a national wave of protests and rare criminal convictions for the involved officers.
  7. Minneapolis police officers were documented using chokeholds and making derogatory comments during arrests.
  8. The report states that investigations into officer misconduct were unacceptably slow, with cases remaining unresolved for extended periods.
  9. Officers accused of serious misconduct were sometimes assigned to train new recruits, further exacerbating systemic issues.
  10. The process for filing complaints against officers was found to be deeply flawed, undermining accountability and discouraging complaints from the public.

This report sheds light on the urgent need for a comprehensive overhaul of the Minneapolis Police Department. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland expressed the Justice Department’s intention to negotiate with city officials to establish a court-enforced consent decree aimed at implementing crucial reforms.

The findings of the investigation highlight the necessity of addressing systemic racism and unconstitutional practices within law enforcement agencies to ensure the protection and well-being of all citizens.

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