Minnesota Files Human Rights Complaint Against Police Department - Rolling Stone
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Minnesota Files Human Rights Complaint Against the Minneapolis Police Department

“We know that deeply seated issues exist,” Governor Tim Walz said. “I know it because we saw the casual nature of the erasing of George Floyd’s life and humanity”

Members of the Minneapolis Police Department face off with protesters during a fourth day of protests over the arrest of George Floyd, who later died in police custody, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, 29 May 2020. A bystander's video posted online on 25 May, appeared to show George Floyd, 46, pleading with arresting officers that he couldn't breathe as an officer knelt on his neck. The unarmed black man later died in police custody. On 29 May, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced third degree murder charges against the Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd.Police abuse protest in wake of George Floyd death in Minneapolis, USA - 29 May 2020

Members of the Minneapolis Police Department face off with protesters during a fourth day of protests over the arrest of George Floyd.

Tannen Maury/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

UPDATE (6/8): Nine members of the Minneapolis City Council pledged Sunday to dismantle the police department in hopes of creating a new system.

City Council controls the budget for the police, but Mayor Jacob Frey does have the power to veto their decisions. Still, Council members said they had enough votes to override the Mayor should he veto. Saturday, Frey was booed out of a rally for saying he did not believe in defunding the police.

UPDATE (6/5): The Minneapolis City Council “approved the terms of a stipulation for a temporary restraining order today outlining immediate changes that must be implemented by the Minneapolis Police Department and a framework for systemic change as part of the long-term investigation underway by Minnesota Department of Human Rights,” according to a release.

The order includes a list of measures that the city and police department must implement immediately, including the banning of neck restraints of chokeholds within 10 days of the order. It also states that all members of the MPD must report any unauthorized force they see while on the scene — they must also safely intervene. If they don’t do so, they will be “subject to discipline to the same severity as if they themselves engaged in the prohibited use of force.” From now on, only the police chief or “the chief’s designee at the rank of deputy chief or above” will be able to authorize the use of crowd control weapons during protests.

UPDATE (6/3): Chief Medaria Arradondo has released the following statement: “The sworn and civilian members of the Minneapolis Police Department remain steadfast in recognizing that service is honorable, and it requires building genuine and authentic relationships with all communities. The authority given to us by the community comes with great responsibility and obligation to always have their best interest at heart. With the assistance of the State Human Rights Commission, we can take an honest examination at systemic barriers that have prevented us from reaching our greatest potential for those we serve.”

Arradondo is the department’s first black chief of police, elected in 2017. He was one of five black officers to file a discrimination suit against the department in 2007.

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The state of Minnesota has filed a human rights complaint against the Minneapolis Police Department, Governor Tim Walz and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights announced at a news conference Tuesday.

The complaint comes in the wake of the death of George Floyd, who was killed by police during an arrest on May 25.

“We know that deeply seated issues exist,” the governor said, according to an AP report.  “I know it because we saw the casual nature of the erasing of George Floyd’s life and humanity. We also saw the reaction of the community. They expected nothing to happen because nothing happened so many times before.”

Walz said that there will be an investigation into the department’s practices and policies over the past 10 years to determine if police have systematically discriminated against people of color — and how to remedy that if so. State Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero will lead the investigation. The FBI is also investigating the death of Floyd.

All officers involved in Floyd’s death were fired following the incident; Derek Chauvin, the officer who knelt on the man’s neck for nearly nine minutes, effectively causing his death, has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He’s also been the subject of several conduct complaints in the past. A recent autopsy has deemed Floyd’s death a homicide.

According to the AP, five black officers sued the department in 2007 over alleged discrimination. The city settled the lawsuit for $740,000.

The Minneapolis Police Department did not immediately respond to Rolling Stone‘s request for comment.

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