WHAT IS CONSENT DECREE AND HOW WILL THIS ADDRESS THE FINDINGS IN THE INVESTIGATION OF THE MPD?
After a two year investigation, the Minnesota Department of Human rights released a report finding that the city of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) have engaged in a pattern or practice of race discrimination. The Minnesota Department of Human Rights invited the city to develop a consent decree to address race-based policing that undermines the city’s public safety system.
In July 2022, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) and the city of Minneapolis agreed to negotiate such an agreement, called a consent decree.
A consent decree is a legally binding agreement issued by a judge and enforced by the court. It identifies specific changes to be made as well as timelines. This enforceable agreement incorporates independent oversight through a monitoring team that regularly reports progress to the court and the community.
In its findings, MDHR pointed out that the court agreement (or consent decree) should:
- Identify specific changes the city and MPD will be required to make
- Provide timelines for those changes
- Require the parties to follow the agreement and timeline
- Incorporate independent oversight
- Ensure sustained and coordinated work continues beyond election cycles
Federal DOJ Investigation
A Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation continues to examine whether Minneapolis police have shown a pattern or practice of policing that is unlawful or unconstitutional. Federal investigators are looking into MPD’s use of force, including against protesters, its treatment of people suffering from behavioral health issues, its systems of accountability and whether officers have engaged in discriminatory policing.
It is possible the DOJ findings will result in a second consent decree in which case MDHR and the city will modify their agreement to prevent any conflicting provisions within the two court orders.
The Mayor’s recommended budget for 2023-24 reserves funds for the next two years to implement the consent decree. In 2023 the amount is $2 million; in 2024 it is $3 million. It is expected the work will continue in future years.