guest column

The Department of Justice is investigating the Minneapolis Police Department

What does that mean for the community?


The U.S. Department of Justice has launched an investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department and the city of Minneapolis. They will be examining uses of force by the police and whether the police engage in racial discrimination. They are also looking at use of force against protesters and police treatment of people with disabilities, including people living with mental illness.
In addition, Racial Justice Network, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN), Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence, NAACP-Minneapolis, The Minnesota Justice Coalition, Disability Justice Network, Communities United Against Police Brutality, and the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar have also asked the DOJ to look into the MPD’s treatment of people experiencing homelessness and the MPD’s poor quality of investigations into murders of people of color.
We know, of course, that Minneapolis police use excessive force and engage in racial profiling and discrimination. We know that protesters, people experiencing homelessness, and people with disabilities are mistreated. We also know that the city rarely holds cops accountable. Our goal as a community is to make sure the DOJ gets the information they need to uncover the truth about Minneapolis policing.
If the investigation is done well, the DOJ will learn about the many issues with policing in Minneapolis. They will create a “consent decree” – a list of required changes. Then, if Minneapolis doesn’t follow these requirements, the federal government could take over the MPD, a process called “receivership.” Consent decrees have been effective in significantly reducing police violence in several cities.
Don’t be a passive bystander at this crucial moment. There are a number of ways the community can get involved. You can get involved by:
1) Helping decide what should become part of the consent decree.
2) Telling your story to the DOJ.
3) Learning how to collect other people’s stories.
4) Spreading the word.
Communities United Against Police Brutality is hosting a series of events for people in the community. Attend one of these events to tell your story and share your ideas for a powerful consent decree. These events will be held at 6 p.m. each night and we will serve dinner. Bring a chair or blanket.
• Wednesday, July 7 (virtual – see our website for the link)
• Friday, July 23 at East Phillips Park, 2399 17th Ave S
• Monday, Aug. 9 at Matthews Park, 2318 29th Ave S
• Friday, Aug. 27 at Theo Wirth Park, Glenwood Ave. at Xerxes Ave.
You can also contact the DOJ directly to tell your story. Call 866-432-0268 or email
This is an important opportunity to hold the MPD and the city of Minneapolis accountable. We all need to be part of the solution.
Michelle Gross is co-founder of the Communities United Against Police Brutality (CUAPB), located at 4200 Cedar Ave. S. CUAPB weekly meetings are held every Saturday at 1:30 p.m.


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