An official report released Friday revealed that the Minneapolis, Minnesota, Police Department continued to use excessive force and display racial discrimination following the controversial death of George Floyd at the hands of one of its officers. The Justice Department condemned local police practices in a report that highlighted the frequent use of excessive force, including lethal force, as well as unlawful discrimination toward African Americans and Native Americans.
During a press conference, Justice Department head Merrick Garland stressed that significant changes have been implemented on the police force in honor of Floyd and the city’s governors, but noted that there is still work to be done. The report presented 28 recommendations to address these problems.
Local and federal authorities will now discuss an agreement on needed reforms in the police department, and implementation will be subject to court oversight.
The tragic incident occurred on May 25, 2020, when a white Minneapolis Police officer, Derek Chauvin, choked George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, by kneeling on his neck for nine minutes during a street arrest. Video of the incident, captured by a bystander and posted on the Internet, sparked widespread protests across the United States.
For nearly a year, the Department of Justice conducted an investigation to determine whether systemic problems existed in the Minneapolis police force beyond individual incidents. Investigators analyzed police incident reports, body camera footage, and testimony from thousands of witnesses over a two-year period, from 2016 through August 2022.
The report concluded that while many officers perform their jobs with professionalism, courage, and respect, systemic problems allowed what happened to George Floyd to happen. It was noted that the Minneapolis Police have used dangerous techniques and weapons against people accused of minor crimes or no crime at all.
President Joe Biden expressed concern about the findings and highlighted the urgent need for Congress to pass sensible reforms to increase public confidence in the police and combat racial discrimination.