Minneapolis City Council approves police reform agreement

The agreement comes nearly three years after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd.


Image by Tony Saunders

The changes come after a settlement between the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR), MPD and the city of Minneapolis was reached on March 31.

by Hanna Van Den Einde

The Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved an agreement with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) to reform policing on Friday.

The agreement comes nearly three years after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for 9 ½ minutes. Chauvin was convicted for the murder of Floyd in April 2021.

In April 2022, the MDHR published an investigation into the city of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD). The investigation found higher rates of force against Black individuals, the use of covert social media to target Black leaders and Black organizations, racist language from some MPD officers and aggressive training that led to uses of inappropriate levels of force.

After the MDHR investigation was issued, city leaders agreed to negotiate a settlement with the state agency. The state settlement still requires court approval from a Hennepin County judge.

The agreement is court-enforceable and includes numerous policies intended to reform policing, such as requirements for body worn cameras, collection of demographic data for stops and searches, mental health support for officers and non-discriminatory policing.

Officers will also no longer be able to conduct a stop-and-frisk based on smelling marijuana or pull over a driver solely because of mechanical issues, such as a broken tail light. They will also have a duty to intervene if they see another officer breaking the rules.

The agreement will require a review and update of MPD policies. The plan states this will be conducted through engagement  from officers and supervisors and with the broader community.

The United States Department of Justice is still conducting its investigation, which they launched April 2021, into whether MPD officers engaged in a pattern of discrimination. The findings of that investigation could lead to a separate agreement with the city, known as a consent decree.

New police precinct alongside police reform

On Wednesday, just two days before the Council approved the policing reform agreement, the city announced two potential sites for a new MPD 3rd Precinct.

Floyd’s murder caused protests and riots to erupt in the city in 2020. During one riot, the 3rd Precinct was burnt down.

The city is holding listening sessions to determine where the new site of the 3rd Precinct should be. The first listening session is scheduled for April 11. Officers from the 3rd Precinct have been working out of a downtown location since May 2020, according to reporting from MPR.