The City of Minneapolis Friday reached an agreement with the state of Minnesota to revamp the city’s police department. The agreement lays out a wholesale evaluation of policing practices within the City of Minneapolis, spanning use of force procedures to data system transparency.
The agreement is a representation of over eight months of negotiation between the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR), the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD). The agreement stipulates that “[w]hile the City and MPD did not and do not admit or agree with MDHR’s Findings, the Parties engaged in good-faith negotiations to resolve this matter to avoid the time and expense of taxpayer funded litigation.”
The requirements the court-enforceable agreement imposes on the MPD will require structural and cultural changes. Among other things, the agreement requires MPD officers to de-escalate and to intervene when other officers are violating use of force procedures. It also changes the circumstances under which MPD officers may pull people over and bans searches based on the alleged smell of cannabis. In addition to those changes, the agreement mandates a new reporting system and data analysis of police practices.
The MPD came under fire in 2020 for officer Derek Chauvin’s murder of George Floyd, which sparked international protests. On June 1, 2020, the commissioner of the MDHR filed a charge of discrimination against the city and the MPD, alleging both engaged in a pattern or practice of race discrimination. On April 27, 2022 the commissioner announced findings that MDHR had probable cause to believe the City of Minneapolis and the MPD violated the Minnesota Human Rights Act. The act protects against patterns or practices of discrimination, and the department’s website describes the act as “one of the strongest civil rights laws in the country.”
To ensure Friday’s agreement is followed, MDHR and the city plan to identify independent evaluators to monitor MPD’s progress.