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Minneapolis council unanimously approves agreement to revamp policing

The 144-page settlement agreement between the city and the Minn. Department of Human Rights will soon be available to the public


Minneapolis City Council member Aisha Chughtai, right, speaks just prior to the Minneapolis City Council voting 11-0 to approve an agreement that would provide sweeping new rules for how the Police Department investigates crimes, conducts searches and holds problem officers accountable.

David Joles/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS

By Dave Orrick
Star Tribune

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minneapolis City Council Friday morning unanimously approved a sweeping plan to reform policing that aims to reverse years of systemic racial bias.

The 11-0 vote means that the public will soon be able to see the 144-page settlement agreement between the city and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, which sued the city in the wake of the 2020 murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.

“This is the legacy of George Floyd,” City Council President Andrea Jenkins said shortly before the council voted on the agreement, which restricts a host of aggressive police tactics, seeks to reduce officer misconduct, and support the wellness of cops on the street.

Some examples:

— Officers will longer be allowed to pull over a driver solely for mechanical issues like a broken tail light.

— The smell of marijuana won’t be enough to justify a search and frisk.

— Officers will have a duty to intervene if they see a fellow officer breaking the rules. If they fail to do so, they could be disciplined as severely as the officer breaking the rules.

A late-morning news conference was planned by Mayor Jacob Frey, Minnesota Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero and other officials.

The plan amounts to a four-year roadmap, City Attorney Kristyn Anderson told council members Friday, although she acknowledged that the rules — and enforcement power of the agreement — will likely remain in place for years beyond.

An “independent evaluator” will be hired and given a $1.5 million budget to oversee the plan’s implementation.

City Public Safety Commissioner Cedric Alexander said some 27 full-time employees will be required in the effort.

The plan comes amid an ongoing federal investigation into similar concerns over the police department. That Department of Justice investigation could lead to a similar roadmap under the jurisdiction of federal courts.

If that anticipated federal consent decree should materialize, it would supersede the plan approved Friday, but wouldn’t weaken it, officials have said.

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