In a nearly 130-page measure, the Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved extensive reforms to its policing system after accusations of racist behavior by state agencies.
The changes, if signed by Mayor Jacob Frey, would adjust how officers conduct stops, searches, and arrests. The use of dashboard and body cameras, police training, and responses to mental health calls would also be altered.
Officers would also be barred from searching a person or a vehicle because they smell cannabis, pulling drivers over for broken tail lights, and dispensing chemical irritants as crowd control.
It comes in the wake of charges brought by Minnesota Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero last April, almost two years after historic protests and riots stemming from the death of George Floyd.
Lucero's team alleged that the Minneapolis Police Department stopped, searched, arrested, used force against, and killed people of color at significantly higher rates than white people over 10 years.
According to the report, investigators found that city officials had been aware of the problem but refused to address it.
"Terrible things have happened here in the past — and we own up to that," MPD Chief Brian O'Hara admitted. "The vast majority of Minneapolis police officers acknowledge … there's some things we need to change. They're just looking for support and clear direction about what we need to do going forward."
The investigation was spurred by Floyd's death lying at the hands of MPD police officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on his neck for over 9 minutes as he insisted that he could not breathe.
Chauvin was eventually found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter for Floyd's death on April 20, 2021.
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