West News Wire: Three years after the brutal shooting death of George Floyd, the US Justice Department has verified widespread racial profiling and violence by police in Minneapolis while reporting on its investigation into the city’s police force. 

DOJ issued a harsh critique of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) on Friday, confirming long-standing claims that MPD officers routinely discriminated against racial minorities, violated constitutional rights, and neglected the safety of those in custody years before an African American man was killed by a White officer.   

Many of the community concerns about police conduct that appeared following Floyd’s smothering death were substantiated in the official report, which was the outcome of  an “extensive” two-year investigation. The federal probe further found that Minneapolis police officers used excessive force, including “unjustified deadly force,” and violated the rights of people who engaged in constitutionally protected speech. 

The investigation also concluded that both the police and the city discriminated against blacks, Native Americans, and people with “behavioral health disabilities.” 

However, US Attorney General Merrick Garland hailed “many MPD officers who did their difficult work with professionalism, courage and respect” during a press conference in Minneapolis on Friday, ironically adding: “But the patterns and practices we observed made what happened to George Floyd possible.” 

Officers routinely neglect the safety of people in custody, Garland confirmed, citing multiple instances where a person complained they couldn’t breathe, only to have officers respond with a version of “You can breathe. You’re talking right now.” 

The report further affirmed that the police “use dangerous techniques and weapons against people who have committed minor crimes and sometimes no crime at all.” Officers used force to punish people who angered the officers or criticized the police. 

According to the federal report, police also “patrolled neighbourhoods differently based on the racial makeup and discriminated on the basis of race when searching, handcuffing, or using force against people during stops.” 

The report comes amid persisting police violence and racial profiling across the United States, highlighted earlier this year by the brutal beating murder of African American youth Tyre Nichols at the hands of Memphis police officers following an alleged traffic violation, underscoring the severity of human rights violations by US law enforcement officials. 

As a result of the investigation, the city and police department agreed to a deal, known as a consent decree, that requires reforms overseen by an independent monitor and approved by a federal judge. 

The arrangement is similar to purported reform efforts in major cities of Seattle, New Orleans, Baltimore, Chicago as well as Ferguson, Missouri following massive protest rallies against flagrant police brutality in the metropolitan areas. 

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Consent decrees require agencies to meet certain goals before removing federal oversight, a process that often takes years and costs millions of dollars. 

The Minneapolis investigation began in April 2021, a day after former officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter in the death of Floyd. 

Chauvin slammed his knee on Floyd’s neck for nine and a half minutes as Floyd pleaded repeatedly that he couldn’t breathe. A witness to the murder captured it on camera, and it led to months of widespread protests as part of a larger national investigation into racial injustice. 

When the Justice Department looked back at police procedures from 2016, it discovered that sometimes officers fired at people before determining whether there was an immediate threat. 

From January 1, 2016, to August 16, 2022, police officers restrained people with neck restraints similar to the one Chauvin applied to Floyd over 200 times, including 44 instances in which an arrest was not necessary. Even after neck restraints were outlawed following Floyd’s murder, some cops still used them, according to the investigation. 

Research shows that black drivers in Minneapolis are 6.5 times more likely to be stopped than white drivers, and Native American drivers are 7.9 times more likely to be pulled over. Police often retaliated against protesters and journalists covering demonstrations, the report said. 

The findings, on the other hand, were called “disturbing” by President Joe Biden, who also said in a written statement that they “underscore the urgent need for Congress to enact common-sense reforms to increase public trust, combat racial discrimination, and thereby strengthen public safety.” 

However, throughout his lengthy political career, Biden has not taken many significant steps to modify gun regulations or safeguard the safety and rights of minorities. Despite this, there have never been any laws against racial discrimination passed by the US Congress in modern memory.  

In spite of the passage of three years since Floyd’s murder, advocates of federal initiatives, such outlawing chokeholds and altering the so-called qualified immunity protections for law enforcement, are still waiting for concrete evidence of progress. 

The official confirmation of police brutality in the US also comes as Washington’s State Department continues to issues bi-annual reports judging human rights records of other nations across the globe in what observers widely regard as a politically self-serving measure to impose sanctions or dictate its will on different countries. 


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