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Changes still underway at Minneapolis Police Department on 2-year anniversary of George Floyd's death

Looking back on the last two years, experts say there has been some change within the Minneapolis Police Department — just not enough of it.

MINNEAPOLIS — Looking back on the last two years since the death of George Floyd, University of Saint Thomas law professor Rachel Moran says the Minneapolis Police Department has made some progress since the death of George Floyd.

"The mayor did finally recently implement a ban on no-knock warrants. Police department has agreed to ban the use of chokeholds and neck restraints, but let's not pretend that this is a wholesale change. There are still a lot of deeply problematic cultural and behavioral issues," Moran says.

One example of a concerning issue, Moran says, is the number of use of force cases involving Minneapolis police officers.

According to the department's own use of force dashboard, the number of cases involving use of force has actually gone up since the death of George Floyd.

In 2020, just over 1,100 use of force cases were reported in Minneapolis.

That number was already high compared to most years, but in 2021 the numbers went up even further to just over 1,400 cases, the most since 2008.

"A lot of people in the city do want police and they want good police, but it's really hard to say what that looks like," Moran says.

Last month the Minnesota Department of Human Rights released a scathing report after a nearly two-year investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department where they discovered a pattern of racial discrimination.

The police department is now working on a consent decree with the Department of Human Rights to create lasting reforms.

Meanwhile, the search continues for a new police chief.

"What I would like to see is an outsider, and I'd like to see someone ideally with a proven track record of actually creating meaningful change in another department," Moran says.

And someone who can also inspire officers and encourage them to stay, to a part of the change and proudly serve the community.

"Someone who can create change in a hopeful or optimistic way and that's hard to find when you have a department with such pervasive problems," Moran says.

KARE 11 also reached out to the mayor's office to see how Mayor Jacob Frey feels about the changes that have happened at the Minneapolis Police Department over the last two years.

The mayor's office sent KARE 11 the following statement:

"In the wake of the racial reckoning that began in Minneapolis in May 2020, our city has demanded change. As policy makers, it’s on us to put specificity to that change and work collaboratively to enact it. We have moved with urgency and intentionality, but a long road remains ahead of us to build anti-racist systems in our local government and across our city. Each day we show up and commit to this work, that road comes into clearer focus."

"The importance of hiring a reform-minded Chief of Police to lead a culture shift in our department cannot be overstated. It has never been more crucial or necessary to bring in a leader who can rebuild our department and achieve a renewed reality of public safety in the community. This person will need to implement policy and make sure our officers are trained."

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