The Minnesota Department of Human Rights filed a lawsuit against the city because of how it enforces laws.
On Thursday, the Minneapolis City Council will hold a special meeting to talk about a possible settlement in the case the state brought against the city after George Floyd’s death because of how the police handled the situation.
After a state agency said in a report last year that the police force had shown a pattern of racial bias for at least ten years, the city and the state started to talk in earnest. The city and state then agreed to make a court-enforceable agreement called a “consent decree” to solve the long list of problems in the report.
The public hasn’t been told much about the meeting behind closed doors. In a message to the council, Mayor Jacob Frey said he wanted to “get a briefing” on the state’s case, which is why he called the meeting. On Wednesday, when the mayor’s office was asked for comment, no one got back to us right away.
Wednesday’s news conference with the governor was about something else, and a spokesperson for Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero wouldn’t say what it was about.
Walz called the group the Minnesota Department of Human Rights when he talked about it. “I’m not going to say anything about this because they’re working on secret agreements together,” he said. “The goal is just to make sure that our neighborhoods are better and that everyone is working together, and I know that a lot of work has gone into that.”
The city is also waiting for the results of a federal investigation into claims that the police have a “pattern or practice” of breaking the law. The Department of Justice started looking into the case on May 26, 2020, the day after former police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murder and negligence for his part in Floyd’s death.
Chauvin sat on the Black man’s throat for 9 and a half minutes while he wailed that he couldn’t breathe. As part of a larger discussion about racial injustice, the shooting was caught on video by a bystander, which led to months of large protests all over the country and the world.
Chauvin got a 22-and-a-half-year sentence for murder after a state court found him guilty. Floyd pleaded guilty and got 21 years in prison after he was charged with a second federal crime for violating his civil rights. Both clauses are being run at the same time.
As a result of the federal investigation, a clear consent order that is legally binding is likely to be made. The city and state would then make changes to their deal to get rid of the problems.
The state report, which came out in April 2022 after a two-year investigation, showed that police don’t treat people of color, especially Black people, the same way when it comes to force, stops, searches, arrests, and tickets.
Part of the report’s conclusions were that officers “receive inadequate training, which emphasizes a paramilitary approach to policing that leads to officers needlessly escalating encounters or using inappropriate levels of force,” which city officials disagreed with. The report also said that police used “covert or fake social media accounts to spy on and talk to Black people, Black groups, and elected officials for reasons that had nothing to do with criminal activity.”
In June 2020, a week after Floyd was killed, the Department of Human Rights sued the city and the police department. They wanted a preliminary injunction to force the city to deal with claims of systemic and institutional racism in the police department until the investigation was finished. Chokeholds and other ways of controlling someone that make it hard to breathe were made illegal right away, and police were told to step in if they saw a coworker using too much force.