U.S. Senator Tina Smith’s Statement on the Department of Justice’s Report on Policing Practices in Minneapolis

WASHINGTON, D.C. [06/16/23] — Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) issued the following statement on the Department of Justice’s report detailing the results of their patterns and practices investigation of the Minneapolis Police Department:

“I commend the Department of Justice for its thorough investigation into the patterns and practices of the Minneapolis Police Department.  Following the tragic murder of George Floyd, and the violence and harm done to too many people at the hands of the MPD, I called on the Department of Justice to conduct this investigation.  The findings released today enumerate in vivid and heartbreaking detail what members of this community have known for a long time, that the MPD has engaged in longstanding practices that deny people their rights under the Constitution and federal law, and has brought lasting and real harm to people.  Nonetheless, it is shocking to see spelled out the discriminatory, violent and unaccountable behavior of MPD, especially toward Black and Native American people, and those living with behavioral disabilities.

“Every Minnesotan deserves to be safe and protected by law enforcement in their community. Minneapolis has taken some initial steps in advancing reforms, and this investigation provides a template for the work ahead to remake MPD policies, supervision, training, and officer wellness programs so we have true accountability.  I’m grateful for the city leaders, faith leaders, public safety and mental health providers, and all the community members who provided their experiences for this report.

“I am also deeply aware of the challenges facing MPD officers, and know there are many people inside the department who work hard every day to make our community safe and want the department to do better.  I look forward to the Department of Justice negotiating with the City and MPD toward a consent decree to enforce reform. It is vitally important that the community have every opportunity for input into that process.”