Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced on Tuesday afternoon that the state’s Department of Human Rights had filed a civil rights charge against the Minneapolis Police Department. This charge comes a week after the MPD was involved in the death of George Floyd, an incident that has sparked protests in Minnesota and throughout the country.
Walz announced this charge in a Tuesday afternoon press conference and posted the details on his Twitter page as well.
The governor indicated that the Minnesota Department of Human Rights would investigate the practices, procedures, and policies utilized by the Minneapolis Police Department for the past decade. The investigation will look to determine whether or not the MPD engaged in “systemic discriminatory practices.”
In addition, Walz tweeted that this civil rights charge was just one piece of an overall strategy to address issues of racial disparity in Minnesota.
“My administration will use every tool at our disposal to deconstruct generations of systemic racism in Minnesota. This effort is one of many steps to come in our effort to restore trust with communities that have been unseen and unheard for far too long,” Walz noted.
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As a teacher, it was great to be back in the classroom today! We convened our Children’s Cabinet meeting in Rochester at John Marshall High School, a full-service community school that is prioritizing wrap-around services for students. Through the Children’s Cabinet, our state agencies are working collaboratively on policy solutions to ensure Minnesota is the best place for every child to grow up. And today we heard from students and teachers on issues facing young Minnesotans, from mental health to educational opportunity. #oneminnesota
CBS News noted that this is the first time that Minnesota has launched a human rights investigation into one of the state’s police departments.
During the press conference, Walz explained that he did not believe that peace could be restored in Minnesota solely by relying on the National Guard or a statewide curfew.
“We’re going to establish peace on our streets when we address the systemic issues that caused it in the first place,” the governor stated.
Walz added that if this situation was not utilized as an inflection point, the problems would be back again in the future. While he believes that there is structural change needed throughout the country to address these problems, Walz said it needs to start somewhere and he’s beginning with the Minneapolis police officers.
The governor of Minnesota also shared his belief that the unrest currently being seen in Minneapolis, as well as all across the United States, is coming in part because people didn’t expect Floyd’s death to change anything.
The Daily Mail shared that in addition to filing the human rights charge and launching the investigation, the department would immediately implement some interim measures to address discriminatory practices.
The four Minneapolis Police Department officers who were involved in the incident leading to Floyd’s death were quickly fired after the Memorial Day incident. In addition, former officer Derek Chauvin has been arrested and is facing criminal charges.
Walz’s announcement of the civil rights charge likely will not be enough to fully diffuse the tensions in Minnesota over Floyd’s death. However, the Minnesota governor noted that this was just one step of many he will pursue and people likely will be watching and holding him accountable in the days and weeks ahead.