Minneapolis police used traffic jams and fake social media profiles to target color communities

Minneapolis police used traffic jams and fake social media profiles to target color communities

“Since 2010, of the 14 people killed by MPD police, 13 have been skin-colored or indigenous,” the report said. “Skin-colored people and natives make up approximately 42% of the Minneapolis population, but make up 93% of all deaths related to MPD officials between January 1, 2010 and February 2, 2022.”

A clear racial disparity can also be seen in the widespread use of chemical and other “less deadly” weapons. MPD officers use pepper spray against blacks at a higher rate than against whites. According to the report: “Officials recorded the use of chemical irritants in 25.1% of incidents of use of force in which blacks participated. In contrast, MPD officials recorded the use of chemical irritants in 18.2% of incidents of force majeure involving whites in similar circumstances. ” Overall, according to the report, “between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2020, 63% of all incidents of use of force reported by MPD officials were against black individuals.”

Unfortunately, traffic jams were no different. Although black people make up approximately 19% of the Minneapolis population, MPD data show that from 1 January 2017 to 24 May 2020, 78% – or over 6,500 – of all searches carried out by MPD officials were black individual searches. or their vehicles during traffic stops initiated by officers. ” Blacks in Minneapolis are six times more likely to be treated by force during a traffic stop than their white neighbors, the report said.

The Minneapolis Police Department did not respond to our request for comment.

Illegal surveillance

The report also describes the use of secret social media accounts by black people: “MPD officials used covert or bogus social media accounts to monitor and engage black individuals, black organizations and elected officials not involved in criminal activities, without publicity. security goal. ”

Online, police officers used secret orders to monitor, comment on and send messages to groups such as the NAACP and the Urban League, while posing as like-minded individuals.

“In one case, an MPD officer used an MPD secret order to introduce himself as a member of the black community to send a message to the local branch of the NAACP in which he criticized the group. In another case, an MPD official introduced himself as a member of the community, and the RSVP invited him to attend the birthday party of a prominent lawyer and black civil rights activist, “the report said.

Similarly, MIT Technology Review Report shows that police officers kept at least three checklists of people present at and around racial and police protests. Nine state and local police groups were part of a multi-agency response program called Operation Safety Net, working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to procure surveillance tools, collect datasets and increase communication sharing during racial protests. justice in the state. Program continued long after its publicly announced demobilization.

Although our investigation did not examine the extent of racial bias, it showed that local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies have learned to work together to protest anonymously — a basic principle of protecting free speech under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — all but impossible.

Secret Police: Investigating the MIT Technology Review

This story is part of a series that offers an unprecedented look at the way federal and local law enforcement agencies have used advanced technological tools to create a complete system of surveillance on the streets of Minneapolis, and what that means for the future of the police. You can find the complete series here.

Lack of responsibility

Not only were these covert orders on social media used to track individuals not suspected of the crime, but the MPD officials behind the orders sought to influence the democratic process: “MPD officials used covert MPD orders to send private messages criticizing elected officials while posing as community members. ”

A member of the Minneapolis City Council and a state-elected official were also involved in these bogus talks. The report states: “By using the covert social media of the MPD to contact and criticize elected officials, police officers are inappropriately using official city resources. This inappropriate covert activity can also undermine the democratic process, as false communication can distort the perspective of elected officials and the understanding of the positions held by community members. ”

In addition, “MPD’s oversight of police officers’ secret social media is insufficient and ineffective.” The MPD does not have a complete and accurate list of all social media accounts used in secret, the report said: the department’s accounting for these activities “did not include at least two dozen additional covert accounts.” The MPD also lacks policies “to ensure that secret accounts are used for legitimate investigative purposes”.

When citizens sought redress for perceived abuses and misconduct, they encountered a system in which “complaints are inadequately investigated and officials are not held consistently responsible for misconduct.” As an example, the report cites a worryingly long time for internal investigations: “Between January 2010 and May 2021, the average time it took the Office of Audit of Police and / or Internal Affairs to complete an investigation and issue a final disciplinary decision after it took more than 475 days for the police to file a lawsuit for misconduct, and the average time was over 420 days. ”

The U.S. Department of Justice is currently investigating the city of Minneapolis and the MPD for possible violations of the Civil Rights Act.

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