Minneapolis police to halt low-level marijuana stings at mayor's request

The decision was directed by Mayor Jacob Frey after downtown sting operations overwhelmingly targeted black suspects.
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Minneapolis police officers will no longer carry out undercover sting operations for low-level marijuana offenses, with police chief Medaria Arradondo calling a halt at the request of Mayor Jacob Frey.

Police Chief Medaria Arradondo made the announcement at a press conference on Thursday, which follows concerns over racial profiling in the results of a recent report.

The report found that of 47 people arrested in sting operations for possessing and selling small amounts of marijuana between Jan. 24 and May 24 in downtown Minneapolis, 46 of them were black.

"Mayor Frey has directed us ... we will discontinue specific low-level marijuana enforcement, and I agree with the mayor's decision," Arradondo said.

Arradondo said the arrests had been made as part of crime reduction efforts in downtown Minneapolis, and that "while the intention was good, it had an unintended consequence."

But while the findings were from a downtown exercise, the moratorium on low-level marijuana stings applies to the entire city.

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Arradondo says he wants to see fewer black males entering the criminal justice system and work with stakeholders to offer "other potential alternatives" including treatment, counseling and diversion.

"The goal here is to keep our community safe but the goal is also we want to contribute to the hope that so many in our community, especially African American males, are not experiencing at this time."

The Star Tribune reports that the low-level marijuana arrests related to the sale of only 1-2 grams of the drug, at a value of between $10-$20.

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