Mpls. Police Report Adds Another Layer to MN Reform Efforts
Monday, May 2, 2022
As the Minnesota Legislature considers new police-reform proposals, the discussions coincide with results from a state investigation of the Minneapolis Police Department. Groups pushing for change say a meaningful response is needed.
Last week, Minnesota's Human Rights Department announced Minneapolis police have engaged in a pattern of race discrimination that violates state statute.
The probe started right after the murder of George Floyd. Johnathon McClellan - president of the Minnesota Justice Coalition - said his group isn't anti-police, but he hopes the findings convince those who are skeptical of reform to reconsider their stance.
"If the protests weren't enough for you," said McClellan, "if the death of George Floyd and Daunte Wright or Winston Smith wasn't enough for you, we hope that the report is enough for you to at least look at this."
His group backs legislation that sets deadlines for police to release body-camera footage. Another plan would extend the civil statute of limitations in deadly-force cases.
Those are part of a larger House public safety plan. However, Senate leaders have emphasized other public safety priorities, including police officer recruitment.
In Minneapolis, accountability groups say community voices should be included as the state works with the city on a consent decree to establish changes. For Minnesotans elsewhere, McClellan said he hopes the report resonates with them, even if they haven't been victimized by police.
"This should have us all question what we believe and what our role is, in a society and as a people," said McClellan.
The Minnesota Justice Coalition has asked federal officials for investigations into the practices of other agencies, including the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
The group suspects questionable methods have carried over into other jurisdictions, but no decision has been made yet to authorize those probes.
Separately, the U.S. Justice Department continues its own review of MPD in the wake of George Floyd's murder.
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