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Dept. of Human Rights releases investigation into MPD, city of Minneapolis

The report concluded "there is probable cause that the City and MPD engage in a pattern or practice of race discrimination" and violated the state human rights act.

ST PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Human Rights released the findings from a civil rights investigation into the city of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Police Department Wednesday, determining there is "probable cause that the City and MPD engage in a pattern or practice of race discrimination in violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act."

The investigation was announced a few days after George Floyd was murdered by former MPD officer Derek Chauvin in 2020. 

Hoping to determine whether Minneapolis and police engaged in a pattern of racial discrimination in violation of the state's civil rights law, the department has been looking at the past 10 years of MPD's policies and practices. 

According to the Department of Human Rights, "A pattern or practice of discrimination is present where the denial of rights consists of something more than isolated, sporadic incidents, but is repeated, routine, or of a generalized nature. Such a showing may be made through statistical evidence and/or other examples of specific instances of discrimination."

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Examples of discriminatory policing identified by the investigation include racial disparities in how MPD officers use force, stop, arrest, and cite people of color compared to white individuals in similar circumstances; officers' use of covert social media to surveil Black individuals and Black organizations, unrelated to criminal activity and consistent use of racist, misogynistic, and disrespectful language.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and other city officials discussed the report at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

"I found it repugnant, horrific and it made me sick to my stomach and outraged and I think our community feels the same way," said Frey.

Mayor Frey added that "we need to make sure that this kind of conduct is held accountable" and said he spoke with Black community leaders earlier and they told told him they've known about the discrimination for years.

Minneapolis City Council Member LaTrisha Vetaw said that none of the findings surprised her.

Interim Police Chief Amelia Huffman called the report "deeply concerning" and said she expects all police officers treat all people with "dignity and respect." She believes the city needs to invest in the training of officers. Huffman said she recognizes the courage, selfless service and compassion of her officers and that their work matters.

Mayor Frey added towards the end of the press conference that he can't comment on each individual case in the report because the city needs to dig more into it.

According to MDHR Commissioner Rebecca Lucero, the analysis looked into 10 years of patterns and practices within the city and MPD. Investigators reviewed 700 hours of body camera footage, 480,000 pages of city and department documents, training policies, use of force data and traffic stops, and conducted listening sessions and thousand of interviews with community members.

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Civil rights attorney Ben Crump and co-counsels Jeff Storms and Antonio Romanucci, who represent the Floyd family, released a statement expressing hope that the investigation will prompt "real change" at MPD.

“The historic finding by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights that the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Police Department engaged in a pattern and practice of race discrimination and race-based policing caused primarily by an organizational culture is monumental in its importance," Crump's statement said. "We hope this leads to placing the city and the police department under a state-ordered consent decree, which would give us assurance, at last, that real change in policing is possible, and Minneapolis can become a safer city for its Black residents."

Lucero has repeatedly said this is not going to be a study that just sits on a shelf when completed. The goal is to make lasting systematic changes to MPD. MDHR said it is working with the city on a consent decree to identify specific changes in the department.

Minnesota has one of the strongest civil rights laws in the country.

KARE 11 spoke with a Twin Cities lawyer when the investigation was launched. 

"It basically says the state is going to use it's power to look under the hood of the Minneapolis Police department," said civil rights attorney Abou Amara. "They are going to look at all kinds of email, text messages, other things to figure out how deep does the pattern and practice of discrimination in the PD goes."

The U.S. Department of Justice started a separate federal investigation into the Minneapolis Police department in 2021 following Chauvin's murder conviction, and those findings have not been released. 

Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis (POFM) released this statement:

"The MDHR found that the Minneapolis Police Department engaged in a pattern and practice of race discrimination. We look forward to examining the evidence that was used to come to their determination so we can move forward as a department. We are committed to moving forward in a way that addresses identified issues head on, and restores the community's faith in those who are entrusted with public safety." 

RELATED: What changes do people want to see as the U.S. Justice Department investigates Minneapolis PD?

WATCH: The Minnesota Dept. of Human Rights details the results of its investigation into MPD:

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