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Justice Department Says Minneapolis Police Repeatedly Violated The Rights Of Black Americans

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department has announced that after conducting an investigation, they have found that the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) and the City of Minneapolis (City) have engaged in conduct that violates the U.S. Constitution and federal law. 

The Justice Department says the City and MPD have reached an agreement in principle to resolve the Department's findings through a court enforceable consent decree with an independent monitor, instead of contested litigation.

According to the Justice Department, the MPD has been found to use excessive force, including unjustified deadly force and unreasonable use of tasers, unlawfully discriminating against Black people and Native American people in its enforcement activities, including the use of force following stops, and violating the rights of people engaged in protected speech. Furthermore, along with the city, the Justice Department says MPD also discriminates against people with behavioral health disabilities when responding to calls for assistance.


The Justice Department also found that there were ongoing issues with policy, training, supervision, and accountability that were contributing factors to unlawful conduct.

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in a speech concerning the investigation that George Floyd's passing had a significant impact on his family, the Minneapolis community, the United States, and the globe. He further said The Justice Department found the patterns and practices of conduct during their investigation to be concerning. He noted that the investigation is just the initial stage and that The Justice Department will collaborate with the City and MPD to provide the necessary support and resources to officers for them to perform their duties effectively and lawfully. The ultimate goal, he said, is to achieve significant and long-lasting reform.

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Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division stated in another speech about the investigation that fair, equitable, and non-discriminatory policing should be provided to all Americans. She further explained that the protests that occurred in Minneapolis and other parts of the country highlight the importance of The Justice Department's efforts to ensure that police departments uphold constitutional rights and gain public trust.

The Justice Department said their investigation was fully cooperated with by the City and MPD. A written report of the investigative findings was provided by The Justice Department to the City and MPD. The report recognizes the actions taken by the city and MPD, and suggests further corrective actions that the Department deems necessary to address its findings completely.

The investigation was initiated by the Department on April 21, 2021 and was carried out by attorneys and staff who work in the Civil Rights Division's Special Litigation Section and the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Minnesota. 

The team visited MPD facilities, interviewed MPD officers, supervisors, and command staff, spoke with city officials and employees, went on ride-alongs with behavioral crisis responders and officers, reviewed thousands of documents, and watched thousands of hours of body-worn camera footage. Attorneys and staff from The Justice Department also held meetings with various individuals and groups in the Minneapolis area, including community members, advocates, service providers, and other stakeholders.

The Justice Department stated that these findings are distinct from the department's criminal cases against former MPD officers for federal crimes linked to George Floyd's death.

The Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department has opened eight investigations into law enforcement agencies during this Administration under Section 12601. They are currently investigating several police departments, including the Phoenix Police Department, Mount Vernon Police Department, Louisiana State Police, New York City Police Department's Special Victims Division, Worcester Police Department, and Oklahoma City Police Department

Previously, The Justice Department has issued Section 12601 findings reports regarding the Louisville Metro Police Department, as well as the Orange County District Attorney’s Office and Sheriff’s Department.

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