Minnesota Department of Human Rights files civil rights charge against Minneapolis Police Department

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Tuesday, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights filed a civil rights charge against the Minneapolis Police Department in relation to the death of George Floyd. Additionally, the department will begin an investigation into Minneapolis Police.

According to a release from Gov. Tim Walz’s office, the Department of Human Rights will seek agreement from city leadership and MPD to immediately implement interim measures in advance of long-term measures to address systemic discriminatory practices.

"Silence is complicity. Minnesotans can expect our administration to use every tool at our disposal to deconstruct generations of systemic racism in our state," said Walz. "As we move forward, we ask the community to watch what we do, not what we say. It is going to take action at all levels from the neighborhood on up, to get the change we need to see. This effort is only one of many steps to come in our effort to restore trust with those in the community who have been unseen and unheard for far too long."

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Walz said the action by MDHR will allow it to take swift action in response to any determination of civil rights violations.

"All of us agree that hate and discrimination should not be part of the fabric of this great state," said Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan. "But the grief and anger of this past week did not emerge from a vacuum. This is about a culture that continues to go unchecked. We can and must choose to do better. George Floyd, and the state as a whole, deserves this of us."

"George Floyd should be alive. He deserved to live a life full of dignity and joy," added MDHR Commissioner Rebecca Lucero. "Community leaders have been asking for structural change for decades. They have fought for this and it is essential that we acknowledge the work and commitment of those who have paved the path to make today’s announcement possible."

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey released the following statement following the announcement:

"For our city to begin healing, we need to deliver justice for George Floyd and his family and enact deep, meaningful policing reforms," said Frey. "For years in Minneapolis, police chiefs and elected officials committed to change have been thwarted by police union protections and laws that severely limit accountability among police departments. I welcome today’s announcement because breaking through those persistent barriers, shifting the culture of policing, and addressing systemic racism will require all of us working hand- in-hand.

"In the last several years we’ve taken steps in the right direction, and I recognize that what progress we have made stands on the shoulders of past local leadership and community advocacy," Frey continued. "At the same time, reform efforts have been tempered by a broken arbitration process and the strength of police union contracts codified in law.

"State action has been an effective mechanism to break through stalemates on police reform, and I welcome that partnership in Minneapolis."

Minneapolis City Council released the following statement regarding MDHR’s action Tuesday:

"George Floyd should be alive today.

"Mr. Floyd’s death is just one instance of unthinkable violence against Black men by law enforcement generally and the Minneapolis Police Department specifically. Our community, especially communities of color, has a deep mistrust of law enforcement given the actions of Minneapolis police officers over decades.

"We welcome and fully support the Minnesota Department of Human Rights’ robust investigation of the Minneapolis Police Department. We urge the state to use its full weight to hold the Minneapolis Police Department accountable for any and all abuses of power and harms to our community and stand ready to aid in this process as full partners. The City Council’s oversight of the Minneapolis Police Department has been historically constrained by the City Charter and state law and we welcome new tools to pursue transformational, structural changes to how the City provides for public safety. We look forward to doing this critical work with our partners at the state, continuing to support the leadership of city staff including Civil Rights Director Velma Korbel and Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, and ensuring that community voices are fully centered in the process announced today."

The Minneapolis Police Department released a statement on Tuesday from Chief Arrandondo on human rights inquiry saying:

"The sworn and civilian members of the Minneapolis Police Department remain steadfast in recognizing that service is honorable, and it requires building genuine and authentic relationships with all communities. The authority given to us by the community comes with great responsibility and obligation to always have their best interest at heart. With the assistance of the State Human Rights Commission, we can take an honest examination at systemic barriers that have prevented us from reaching our greatest potential for those we serve."