The US Department of Justice has found numerous civil rights violations carried out by the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) against not only Black people but also Native Americans.
US Attorney General Merrick Garland earlier this month announced that a federal investigation into the Minneapolis police force determined that the MPD has engaged in a pattern of misconduct against Blacks and Natives. The Justice Department said the MPD has been found to use excessive force, unlawfully discriminate against, and violate the rights of Black and Native American populations.
The patterns and practices of conduct the Justice Department observed during our investigation are deeply disturbing,” said Garland. “They erode the community’s trust in law enforcement.”
The DOJ probe was in response to the May 2020 death of 46-year-old George Floyd. Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was later convicted of causing Floyd’s death by kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes, during which Floyd was heard repeatedly saying that he was unable to breathe.
Investigators concluded that the MPD “patrols differently based on the racial composition of the neighborhood, without a legitimate, related safety rationale.”
Garland said the MPD and the city cooperated fully with the Justice Department’s investigation.
Minnesota is home to 12 federally recognized tribes that own 40 tribal casinos. Only Oklahoma (136) and California (82) have more casinos owned by Native Americans.
The Minnesota casinos collectively have more than 20,000 gaming machines. The state’s tribal interests, according to research conducted on behalf of the American Gaming Association (AGA), delivered Minnesota an economic impact of $3.72 billion last year and supported more than 29,000 jobs.
The tribes win more than $2 billion a year on their casino floors and generate more than half of a billion dollars in tax revenue for the state.
Minneapolis is near two of the state’s most profitable tribal casinos — Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in Prior Lake and Treasure Island Resort & Casino in Welch. The properties are respectively owned and operated by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and the Prairie Island Indian Community.
The two tribes in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region have more than 1,000 tribal members and collectively employ about 2,000 area residents.
Mystic Lake, Minnesota’s largest casino, features 4,000 slot machines and 100 table games. The resort comes with a 766-room hotel making it the third-largest hotel in Minnesota.
Treasure Island features about 1,800 slots and 50 table games. The hotel has 788 rooms, making it the largest hotel in the Twin Cities and the second-largest in the state behind only the Hilton Minneapolis’ 826 occupancies.
DOJ officials said the city has already taken some remedial steps to improve policing, but the federal law enforcement agency plans to meet with members of the Minneapolis community to address the report’s findings in the coming months. In the interim, an independent monitor has been appointed by the DOJ to keep tabs on the MPD and its operations.
The DOJ probe into the Minneapolis Police Department is one of eight ongoing investigations into law enforcement agencies. The reviews are being carried out by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
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