The Minnesota Department of Human Rights announced plans to develop a legally-binding agreement with the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Police Department after its investigation found probable cause of racist, discriminatory policing spanning at least a decade.
The MDHR's findings released Wednesday details failures by both city and department leaders to rid MPD of practices violating the Minnesota Human Rights Act.
Rebecca Lucero, commissioner of MDHR, said the investigation determined efforts to reform police policies, procedures and trainings would be "meaningless" without fundamental change to the organizational culture.
"This is a big statement, but I think it speaks to the scope of the challenge that lies ahead," Lucero said during a press conference Wednesday.
What happens next
Lucero said a consent decree will be developed to require changes at the city and MPD.
"Unlike previous efforts to reform policing in Minneapolis, a consent decree is a legally-binding agreement that the parties are required by law to follow," she explained, calling the move unprecedented.
According to Lucero:
- The consent decree will lay out specific changes that the city and MPD are required to make.
- The consent decree will be issued by a judge and a judge will be tasked with holding the parties accountable.
- The consent decree will live on past all election cycles and is not subject to the whims of elected officials.
Lucero said other immediate changes are within the full control of the city and do not require any modifications to collective bargaining agreements or state law.
To develop the consent decree, MDHR will meet with community members, MPD officers, city staff and other stakeholders to gather feedback on what should be included in a consent degree to address the race-based policing in the findings.
Anyone may submit information or feedback online at mn.gov/mdhr.
Mayor Frey asked to comment
Bring Me The News has reached out to the Mayor of Office Jacob Frey for a comment on the report.
Frey ran for re-election in November while opposing the replacement of Minneapolis Police Department alongside then Police Chief Medaria Arradondo. Frey already had executive control of MPD, but more executive powers were transferred to him following referendums in November when voters were in favor of the "strong mayor" models of governance.
Frey had called for the reform of MPD rather than replacing it with a new Department of Public Safety, despite critics of MPD arguing it is beyond reform, an argument that is now being made louder following the release of the MDHR report.
Leaders at both the city and MPD level were criticized in the human rights report for not acting "with the urgency, coordination, and intentionality necessary to address racial disparities in policing to improve public safety and increase community trust."