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Probe launched post George Floyd’s murder finds racial discrimination pattern by Minneapolis police

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Nearly two years ago, in a world battling a deadly pandemic, an old adversary reared its ugly head. On May 25, 2020, Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on the neck of George Floyd for over 9 minutes. Floyd’s last words were “I can’t breathe,” which became the rallying cry of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

This global social justice campaign focused on police brutality, especially that against non-Caucasians. In Minnesota, Chauvin was fired the day after the incident and was convicted of second and third-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter, and depriving a person’s legal rights. He was sentenced to 22 years in prison on June 25, 2021.

Per USA Today, an investigation in the state has concluded that the Minneapolis Police Department engages in behavior that discriminates against race. The findings were announced on April 27, 2022, by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. This group has the power to enforce Minnesota’s Human Rights Act, which makes racial discrimination by police departments illegal. The investigation has been underway for almost two years as it was launched immediately after Floyd’s death.

Chauvin did not act alone, as three other officers were involved in the terrible incident. While he was the only one who pinned Floyd down, the others were convicted earlier this year of violating the man’s civil rights in a federal trial, and they will be tried in a state court in June.

Rebecca Lucero, the Minnesota Human Rights Commissioner, hoped the investigation would lead to long-term solutions for changes in law enforcement. One of the goals is to create what she calls a consent decree that courts could enforce against excessive police force along with financial penalties and injunctions. This would apply to multiple cities with a long history of racial profiling and police brutality, including nearby Chicago.

The Department of Human Rights prompted Minneapolis to make immediate changes after Floyd’s death, which included banning chokeholds and requiring other officers to intervene upon witnessing the use of excessive force. State investigators have reviewed ten years of information on traffic stops, arrests, searches, policies, and training methods.

Mayor Jacob Frey and now-retired Chief Medaria Arradondo made changes in police procedures, requiring officers to document attempts at de-escalation and stops for minor traffic violations. Yet, these attempts were overshadowed by the death of Amir Locke in February, when the 22-year-old black man was killed in the serving of a no-knock warrant.

Minneapolis has since banned this controversial practice except in dire circumstances. This is another step forward for the Minnesota Department of Human Rights and the civil rights of the American people.

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