The Minnesota Department of Human Rights has filed a complaint against the Minneapolis Police Department and will launch an investigation into the organization after filing a civil rights charge in regards to the death of George Floyd, who died while pinned to the ground by police on May 25.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced the civil rights investigation Tuesday, explaining the probe will examine practices and policies of the department over the past decade to rule on whether Minneapolis PD officers have systemically violated human and civil rights. Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero said during Tuesday's news conference, "This is not about holding people personally criminally liable. This is about systems change."
The four police officers involved in Floyd's death have been fired, and former officer Derek Chauvin has arrested and charged with third-degree murder. No charges have been leveled against the other officers at this point, although Floyd family attorney Benjamin Crump said on Tuesday's TODAY show that the family has been told that charges are expected. Late Tuesday, Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said in a statement that there is work to be done in his department, as per the Star Tribune. "With the assistance of the State Human Rights Commission, we can take an honest examination at systemic barriers that have prevented us from reaching our greatest potential for those we serve," he said.
Lucero said that while the police department has been examined in the past, the Human Rights Department will be working with city leaders to make immediate changes, as well as enacting a longer process to potentially reach a court-enforceable consent decree. "This is not a report. This is something that will result in court action and require change," she said during Tuesday's news conference. Walz added, "We are going to establish peace on the streets when we address the systemic issues."
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey added that this investigation could result in change he said has been stalled for years by the police department's union, the Minneapolis Police Federation. "For years in Minneapolis, police chiefs and elected officials committed to change have been thwarted by police union protections and laws that severely limit accountability among police departments," he said. "Breaking through those persistent barriers, shifting the culture of policing, and addressing systemic racism will require all of us working hand in hand."
Sunday, Walz that state Attorney General Keith Ellison has been appointed to lead the prosecution of any charges stemming from Floyd's death, which he said "take us in that direction and the step to start getting the justice for George Floyd." Ellison added, "We are pursuing justice. We are pursuing truth. We're doing it vigorously, and we are pursuing accountability."