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With 61 pending allegations of excessive force, more bad news for MPD

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In the last two years, 53 people have sued the Minneapolis Police Department, accusing officers of excessive force and brutality. In total, the Star Tribune reports, the city of Minneapolis and its police force are defending themselves against 61 such suits.

The Star Tribune finely reports some of the incidents, but also lays bare some facts and figures.

For instance, St. Paul, the most comparable in size and location police department to the MPD, has 19 brutality suits pending.

History shows that Minneapolis has a 50-50 chance of winning brutality suits, and one city attorney tells the Strib he estimates the department sees about 32 new complaints a year.

It adds up. The Associated Press does the math: Between 2006 and 2012, the city paid out about $14 million in police misconduct cases. And in May, it agreed to pay out $3 million for the 2010 death of a homeless man who was forcefully restrained by police.

This comes the day there was another rally for Terrance Franklin, a 22-year-old shot and killed in a confrontation with police after initially fleeing them. The incident itself also involved a death of a motorcyclist hit by an MPD vehicle.

And in recent weeks, there were reports of two separate incidents of off-duty, white MPD officers accused of using racial slurs in bar confrontations. One was in Apple Valley and another in Green Bay. Some of the officers involved, have excessive force complaints - sometimes several - filed against them.

The Star Tribune talks to attorneys, city officials and other observers to get answers to problems that involve the department.

“As the largest city in the state, we tend to get the most attention, positive or negative,” Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal says in an e-mail the Star Tribune. “Our Police Department has over a million contacts per year with members of the public. A very few of those interactions result in claims and lawsuits, as with any major metropolitan area around the country.”

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