Minneapolis police ‘engaged in pattern of racism’

GETTY IMAGES: Police in the US city of Minneapolis have engaged in a pattern of race discrimination for at least the past decade, a state inquiry has found.

The investigation was launched following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in 2020.

Minnesota’s civil rights enforcement agency looked into how officers used force, stopped, searched and arrested minorities compared to white residents.

Their analysis found wide disparities in the treatment of different races.

Its conclusions could be used to force the police department to change its practices and policies.

Last year, white ex-police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to over 22 years in prison for the on-duty murder of Floyd.

The analysis of police reports, interviews and body camera footage took nearly two years, revealing what investigators said was a “pattern and practice” of racial discrimination.

While African Americans make up 19% of the population of Minneapolis, they represented 54% of all traffic stops between 2017-20, the inquiry found.

Black people accounted for 63% of police use-of-force incidents from 2010-20.

The 72-page report blames a “paramilitary approach to policing” and a culture that is “ineffective at holding officers accountable for misconduct”.

It also charges that officers in the department “consistently use racist, misogynistic, and disrespectful language and are rarely held accountable” for such misconduct.

Officers also created fake social media accounts to monitor black people “unrelated to criminal activity, without a public safety objective”, said the report.

Minnesota Department of Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero said on Wednesday the findings showed the city police department “engaging in a pattern of racial discrimination over the last decade”.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, a Democrat, said the findings were “repugnant, at times horrific”.

The USA’s history of racial inequality has paved the way for modern day police brutality

Interim Police Chief Amelia Huffman said the force had already made changes.

“We are committed to promoting public trust and officer safety through ongoing investments in our people, training, policies, and processes,” she said.

Other instances of police violence in Minnesota have made headlines while the report was being drafted.

Just this month prosecutors announced they would not press charges against the officers who killed Amir Locke, a black man who was sleeping on a couch in his cousin’s apartment when a Swat team entered the home.

A white officer in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center was jailed in February for killing a black man during an arrest after mistaking her gun for a Taser.

Voters in Minneapolis last year narrowly rejected a proposal to abolish the police force and replace it with a “public-health oriented” department of public safety.

Homicides in the city in 2021 were roughly double the average for the years from 2015-19.

Source: BBC News


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