The state of Minnesota has filed a human rights complaint against the Minneapolis Police Department in the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer pinned him to the ground with a knee on his neck.
Gov. Tim Walz announced the filing on Tuesday, calling for an investigation from the Minnesota Department of Human Rights to determine if the MPD has engaged in any systemic discriminatory action towards people of color within its policies, procedures and practices over the past 10 years.
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“Silence is complicity. Minnesotans can expect our administration to use every tool at our disposal to deconstruct generations of systemic racism in our state,” Walz said in a statement.
“As we move forward, we ask the community to watch what we do, not what we say. It is going to take action at all levels from the neighborhood on up, to get the change we need to see. This effort is only one of many steps to come in our effort to restore trust with those in the community who have been unseen and unheard for far too long.”
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Department of Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero has been appointed to lead the investigation.
“George Floyd should be alive. He deserved to live a life full of dignity and joy,” Lucero said in a statement. “Community leaders have been asking for structural change for decades. They have fought for this and it is essential that we acknowledge the work and commitment of those who have paved the path to make today’s announcement possible.”
Those with information that can further the investigation into the MPD are urged to contact the Department of Human Rights online or at 651-539-1100.
Floyd, 46, died on May 25 in police custody after now-fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pinned him to the ground for several minutes with a knee on the unarmed man’s neck, despite his repeated cries of “I can’t breathe.” The killing was caught on camera, quickly going viral and sparking nationwide protests over police brutality and racial injustice.
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Chauvin was terminated from his post last week and has been charged with manslaughter and third-degree murder, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 25 years.
Three other officers involved were also fired but have not been charged.
Floyd’s death was ruled as a homicide by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner on Monday. The medical examiner’s report listed his cause of death as “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.”
The report also said that Floyd “experienced a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s).”
Floyd’s family is seeking a first-degree murder charge to be filed against Chauvin.
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.
National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.