Minneapolis suspends MPD talks until MN Human Rights provides proof of secret social media

The Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office says it can’t find proof of a damning finding by a state agency that police used secret social media accounts to target black people and elected officials .

The city has suspended the process to define the terms of a consent decree to make changes to the Minneapolis Police Department.

Last month, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights released a detailed report listing incidents and policies it said showed the city and its police department had a “pattern or practice of racial discrimination in violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act”.

In an email Friday, Assistant City Attorney Erik Nilsson told Mayor Jacob Frey and city council members that his team reviewed 15,000 pages documenting social media, but found no people. targeted by the police “without public security objective”.

Nilsson said the team is reviewing the material again to see if there was any inappropriate use of social media by MPD officers.

The Department of Human Rights report says MPD agents used social media accounts to impersonate members of the black community to criticize city officials and NAACP members. Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero said at the time that the social media work was not part of any criminal investigation.

“The City has repeatedly asked the MDHR for the specific documents it relies on — a reasonable request that attorneys for one side present to another to support its findings regarding secret social media,” Nilsson told Frey. and members of the board. “The MDHR has repeatedly refused to share this vital information.”

Nilsson said the city is canceling its May 24 meeting with the department and will not meet until it receives more information.

In a statement, the department said the city should reconsider.

“The Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) has conducted a thorough and comprehensive investigation based on multiple lines of evidence and has discovered a pattern or practice of racial discrimination,” said Taylor Putz, spokesperson for the department. “MPD’s misuse of secret social media is one of many important findings. Any challenge to this finding alone is no reason to halt discussions.

The report stems from a nearly two-year investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department launched shortly after the May 2020 police killing of George Floyd, which included numerous instances where investigators said the MPD and the city had not properly trained or held the police accountable.

By reviewing body camera videos and disciplinary records, and interviewing community members and officers, investigators reported learning of racist and misogynistic slurs uttered by officers against suspects, community members and even other colleagues.

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