The Minneapolis City Council has granted its approval to a state agreement to restructure policing, marking a significant step taken nearly three years after the unfortunate demise of George Floyd at the hands of a city officer.
A report by the Department of Human Rights last year accused the police department of perpetuating racial discrimination for at least a decade, prompting city officials to reach a settlement with the agency.
Despite unanimous approval on an 11-0 vote, several council members expressed their dissatisfaction with the Minneapolis Police Department and city leaders for their inadequacies over the years.
Council member Robin Wonsley pointed out the lack of political will to take responsibility for the MPD, adding that the settlement prevents city leadership from deferring accountability any longer.
The state launched an investigation into the police department after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, knelt on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes, causing him to die. The incident sparked massive protests across the globe and triggered a national reckoning on racial injustice, prompting the police department to commence a reformation process.
Chauvin was subsequently convicted of murder, and along with three other officers, is currently serving prison terms.
The 140-page state settlement, which requires court approval, comprises multiple provisions governing the use of force, stops, searches, and arrests, use of cameras, officer wellness, training, and response to mental health and behavioral crises. It further mandates the appointment of an independent evaluator to oversee compliance.
Mayor Jacob Frey and Minnesota Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero signed the agreement after the council vote and were scheduled to brief reporters later in the day.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice continues to investigate whether the Minneapolis police department systematically practiced discrimination, with the potential of leading to a separate consent decree with the city.
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