Source: Star Tribune
Federal authorities pursuing their civil rights probe of the Minneapolis Police Department bring with them a deep familiarity with the MPD’s inner workings and procedures after years of concern about the department’s performance.
The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating whether MPD officers engaged in a “pattern and practice” of violating citizens’ rights, including during mental health-related calls and at last summer’s protests over the murder of George Floyd. Leaders of the city’s police force, which is down dozens of officers amid rising violent crime and calls for its disbandment, have said the department will cooperate with the federal probe. A separate state human rights investigation has been proceeding for months.
It’s not entirely unfamiliar: The Justice Department has launched inquiries into MPD practices dating back decades, ranging from misconduct of specific officers for excessive force or corruption to mediation agreements and pledges of departmentwide reform in areas like reducing racial bias and use of force.
The MPD has a long-standing problem. This is caused by its size. It is harder to get rid of bad elements and bad policy in a large force with a strong union. Fortunately, most police departments are smaller.