MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office says it has yet to be able to confirm some of the most compelling allegations found in a recent investigation by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, which said the City police had used social media to spy on black leaders and organizations.
In an email to Mayor Jacob Frey and the Minneapolis City Council, Assistant City Attorney Erik Nilsson said his team “found no evidence that the MPD systematically targeted secret social media. to target black leaders, black organizations and elected officials without an audience”. security goal.
Until his team can verify the information outlined in the report and review 15,000 pages of documents, Nilsson says they “cannot move forward”, and a meeting scheduled for next week between the two sides was canceled.
The data was originally presented in a scathing 72-page MDHR report last month, which found the city and its police force had engaged in racially-based discrimination for the past decade.
AFTER: Read the full report here
The investigation, launched the day after the death of George Floyd, highlighted racial disparities in how MPD officers used force against blacks and whites, and highlighted how officers used racist and misogynistic language.
Part of the report focused on the officers’ use of social media to spy on the city’s black leaders. Specifically, agents engaged online with the NAACP, Urban League, a Minneapolis City Council member and state elected official, the report said. During these incidents, officers “possessed as like-minded people” and used language to “reinforce racial stereotypes associated with black people, especially black women.”
Following the investigation, the MDHR said it would work with the city to develop a Consent Decree – a list of court-binding changes to be made to the city and the MPD, along with timelines for those changes. these occur. MDHR Commissioner Rebecca Lucero said it was an “unprecedented” step, but would allow for the “structure that is needed as it provides clear direction and accountability”.
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But talks with the city are now on hold until the MDHR can flag specific cases in the 15,000 pages of documents that detail officers’ inappropriate use of social media to the prosecutor’s office.
“Our team was shocked by the report’s allegations of covert social media, and if this has indeed happened, it must be addressed immediately. To properly advise you (our clients) and fulfill our professional obligations as your adviser legal, we need to have accurate and complete information on this matter,” Nilsson wrote in his email.
He goes on to say that the city asked the MDHR for the documents, a “reasonable request” that lawyers for one party must make of the others. “The MDHR has repeatedly refused to share this vital information,” he said.
The Minnesota Department of Human Rights said in a statement to WCCO-TV that MPD’s use of covert social media is “one of multiple important findings” from the investigation, and that meetings with the prosecutor’s office should not be interrupted.
“Any challenge to this finding alone is no reason to discontinue discussions,” the department said. “As we approach the second anniversary since an MPD police officer murdered George Floyd, the city must seize this opportunity to address unlawful discriminatory policing practices and strengthen public safety.”
The Minneapolis delegation to the House of Representatives said it expects the city and the MDHR to continue their efforts to address reforms within the MPD.
“A consent decree should be the goal of city officials, but choosing to stop or delay this process will only harm the trust that desperately needs to be rebuilt within our neighbors and the Minneapolis Police Department. “, the delegation said in a statement.