Last week, the Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved a police reform agreement that looks to combat years of racial bias in policing. The deal between the city and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights comes nearly three years after the death of George Floyd.
“This is the legacy of George Floyd,” City Council President Andrea Jenkins said during the vote.” It restricts aggressive police tactics, seeks to reduce officer misconduct and supports the wellness of cops on the street.”
In the deal, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights has called on the city to “make changes to their organizational culture” as well as address “race-based policing,” the state agency said in a release.
The agreement states that officers will no longer be allowed to pull over a driver solely for mechanical issues like a broken tail light. It also says the smell of marijuana won’t be enough to justify a stop-and-frisk. If officers see a fellow officer breaking the rules, they have a duty to intervene. If they do not, they could be disciplined as severely as the officer who broke the rules.
“The Parties recognize that policing free of discrimination is central to an effective public safety system that is built on community trust,” the state agency said in the agreement.“Recognizing this principle and the humanity, dignity, and civil rights of all individuals, MPD will continue to develop its policies, training, and accountability systems to provide non-discriminatory policing and enhance community trust of its policing efforts.”
According to city Attorney Kristyn Anderson, the plan has been shaped into a four-year roadmap, but the rules and power of the agreement will likely remain in place for years to come.
The city will also have to hire an “independent evaluator” who will be given a $1.5 million budget to oversee implementation.
“Frankly, I think this document is a shift in the power dynamic from where it is now where we have one or two people who have power over what happens in our police department,” Council Member Aisha Chughtai told Star Tribune.
Police reform in Minneapolis could continue to change in the near future, depending on an ongoing Department of Justice investigation.
The 2020 murder was captured on video and sparked nationwide protests over police brutality. It also led to a state investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department. The report from the investigation found that 78% of all police searches from 2017 to 2020 involved Black residents and their vehicles. Black residents represent only about 19% of the population in Minneapolis
“The insightful and painful Minnesota Human Rights report released last year gave clear and troubling insight into the need for comprehensive reform, and we as civil rights attorneys who have fought in Minneapolis for justice, accountability, and change are pleased by both the recognition of deeply entrenched policing problems, as well as clear steps on the path to constitutional policing in Minneapolis,” attorneys Ben Crump, Antonio Romanucci and Jeff Storms said in the statement.
Here’s a quick list of other provisions in the deal:
- Require officers to de-escalate
- Prohibit officers from using force to punish or retaliate
- Prohibit the use of certain pretext stops
- Ban searches based on alleged smells of cannabis
- Prohibit so-called consent searches during pedestrian or vehicle stops
- Limit when officers can use force
- Limit when and how officers can use chemical irritants and tasers
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