The state of Minnesota announced Tuesday that it will investigate the practices of the last decade at the Minneapolis Police Department to determine whether it has committed discrimination against African Americans or Latinos, following the outrage generated by the murder of George Floyd at the hands of one of its agents.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, a Democrat, explained in a tweet that the state’s Human Rights Department “has filed a civil rights charge against the MPD.
As a result, the state “will investigate the department’s policies, procedures and practices over the past ten years to determine whether they committed systematic discriminatory practices,” Walz added.
It is unclear what the consequences of such an investigation might be in the event that it is determined that systematic discrimination against such minorities did occur, although the head of the investigation, Rebecca Lucero, implied that no criminal charges are expected.
“This is not about seeking personal responsibility through criminal means. It’s about changing the system,” Lucero, who heads the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, told reporters, according to the local newspaper The Minnesota Star Tribune.
The investigation comes days after the arrest and filing of charges against Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer who held his knee over Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes before he died, an incident that was videotaped and sparked protests across the country.
Three other officers involved in the incident have been fired from the MPD, but have not been arrested so far, a fact that has become one of the main clamors of the demonstrations in Minneapolis and around the country, and which have sometimes led to the biggest race riots of the century in the United States.
State Attorney Keith Ellison is still investigating whether Floyd’s autopsy reports, which were released Monday and which in both cases concluded that his death was a homicide, are enough to order the arrest of the other three agents.
For many, Floyd’s case was just a sample of the police bias in Minneapolis against African Americans, a point on which the newly announced investigation will focus.
Although only 40% of city residents are African American or Latino, they are implicated in 74% of all instances of use of force by local police, according to MPD data cited by the Star Tribune.