The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) findings that the Minneapolis Police Department routinely used excessive force and unlawfully discriminated against Black and Native American people is “appalling” but not surprising, the Congressional Black Caucus said Friday.
“While the findings are appalling, they are wholly unsurprising given the public outcry from residents and organizers in the City of Minneapolis and the many events that have transpired in the public view in the years leading up to, during, and since the tragic murder of George Floyd,” the Caucus, chaired by Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), said in a statement.
The DOJ’s findings, released Friday, come after a two-year investigation following the murder of George Floyd. Floyd, 49, was killed when a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for more than nine minutes. Other officers stood in the vicinity but did not intervene, and they stopped bystanders from intervening even as Floyd repeatedly said he could not breathe.
Floyd’s murder sparked global protests against police brutality.
The DOJ’s investigation found that officers would use excessive force even when no force was necessary, disregarded the safety of people in their custody and failed to intervene when fellow officers used unreasonable force.
The report also found numerous cases in which officers dismissed claims from people in custody that they could not breathe.
Black people were stopped by police at more than six times the rate of white people in Minneapolis, the DOJ’s report estimated.
In March, the Minneapolis City Council approved an agreement with the state to revamp its policing system, including changes to the use of force; to stops, searches and arrests; using body-worn and dashboard cameras; officer training and wellness; and responding to mental health and behavioral calls.
That same month, the CBC announced it sent a letter to the Justice Department demanding data on the status of President Biden’s 2022 executive order on police accountability. That executive order called for establishing a national law enforcement accountability database to track officer misconduct, as well as creating guidance and practices to address mental health crises and improve safety conditions in prisons and jails.
“The Congressional Black Caucus has worked closely with the White House and the DOJ on ensuring implementation of President Biden’s executive order on policing and we applaud Attorney General Merrick Garland, Deputy Attorney General Vanita Gupta, and Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for concluding this investigation with an enforceable consent decree with the City of Minneapolis,” the CBC said Friday. “The CBC will continue to push for public safety reform in Congress because we cannot rest until we ensure that all communities are safe from discriminatory and oppressive policing.”
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