3 MN Republicans ask Department of Justice to investigate Minneapolis Police Department

They don't believe the state Department of Human Rights can conduct an unbiased investigation.
Publish date:

Three Minnesota Senate Republicans have asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the Minneapolis Police Department and its response to the unrest following George Floyd's death on May 25. 

Sen. Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson) Sen. Bill Ingegrightsen (R-Alexandria) and Sen. David Senjem (R-Rochester) wrote a letter to the Department of Justice Monday asking for a "practice-or-pattern" investigation, which is used in allegations of "serious patterns and practices of excessive force, biased policing, and other unconstitutional practices of law enforcement," a news release says.

The trio of Senators also held a news conference Tuesday announcing their request, with Sen. Newman saying talk from Minneapolis City Council members about dismantling the Minneapolis Police Department is "frightening." 

The letter states they're requesting the investigation because under the current circumstances, "we do not feel it is possible to protect the civil rights of the citizens of the city of Minneapolis" if the Minneapolis City Council follows through with its proposal.

The city council has embarked on a year-long study to investigate alternative strategies to public safety, crime prevention, and responses to emergency calls. MPD is fully functioning while this study is carried out.

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights is already conducting a civil rights investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department in the wake of George Floyd's killing, but the Republican senators don't believe it'll do so objectively.

“The Department of Justice has the resources and experience necessary to conduct a fair, thorough investigation on behalf of the city and our state,” Newman said, according to the release. “While the Minnesota Department of Human Rights has been ordered to conduct a similar inquiry, I do not believe that office has the proper resources, staffing, and training necessary for an objective investigation."

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Newman said that comments from Department of Human Rights commissioner Rebecca Lucero in which she said there was "systemic racism" within the MPD should disqualify the department because it cannot conduct a "meaningful, unbiased investigation."

"The commissioner’s own comments have effectively disqualified her agency from conducting a meaningful, unbiased investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department," Newman added.

But the Department of Justice, which is expected to consider the senators' request in the coming weeks, has been heavily criticized under the leadership of Attorney General William Barr, who has worked closely with President Donald Trump and sought to protect him from political and legal attacks.

With Trump only backing minor reforms to police and having been heavily against a reduction of funding for or the dismantling of police departments, the suggestion that the DOJ investigates the MPD has been met with criticism from Minnesota DFLers, including one House staffer, who tweeted: 

Next Up

butcher and the boar

Butcher & the Boar makes comeback with new ownership

Local hospitality company Jester Concepts has bought the brand. The new location is still being determined.


Staff at Mankato Hy-Vee incorrectly diluted COVID vaccines for 62 patients

The retailer says that there is no reason for medical concern.

rowdi lab missing

Twin Cities man going to great lengths to find beloved dog, missing in northern MN

He's hoping drone operators can help him locate Rowdi, his yellow lab.

Hennepin County Government Center

Some Hennepin County Government Center services will be unavailable during Chauvin's trial

Access to the building will be limited during the trail, which begins March 8.

Street sweeper

Driver, 19, killed in collision with street sweeper

It happened Thursday evening near Thief River Falls.

famous dave's

Famous Dave's to launch its first 'line service' restaurant in the Twin Cities

The new model of restaurant will open in September in Coon Rapids.

State Capitol.

Minnesota's budget outlook improves, now projecting $1.6B surplus

The state was projecting a $1.3 billion deficit in November.

warroad ice road

2.5 mile skating path through Warroad was a hit, now there's an effort to keep it

The "Riverbender Crew" is hoping to buy new equipment to maintain the path this season, and for years to come.


medaria arradondo

MPD chief asks for money to hire outside officers, spars with council members

A committee narrowly passed the proposal that would allow the MPD to contract with other agencies to curb violence.

police lights

3 dead after carjacking suspects crash during police chase in Minneapolis

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating.

Image from iOS (12)

MPD deletes tweet of suicide video after criticism

The department shared the video to "dispel rumors," and deleted the video out of respect for the man and his family.

Sally Yates to investigate Minneapolis police ketamine controversy

She'll investigate a report that accuses officers of sedating suspects with ketamine.

Justice Department investigating suburb's rejection of mosque

The Justice Department says it has opened a civil rights investigation into St. Anthony's refusal to issue a permit to a group hoping to establish a mosque in the city. City council members said this summer they would prefer a light industrial use of the site. The Council on American Islamic Relations complained to the feds.

george floyd 7

Large group of protesters call for justice for George Floyd

Floyd died after video shows an officer pressing his knee into Floyd's neck for five minutes.

Minneapolis police

Minneapolis City Council approves additional funding for MPD

The approval comes days after a tense exchange between the police chief and council members.