Nearly three years after a white police officer killed a Black man by kneeling on his neck for nine minutes, the city of Minneapolis announced Friday that it had approved a plan to reform its police force.
The death of 46-year-old George Floyd, whose ordeal was filmed by a passerby, sparked mass protests across the country — and even in global cities — under the slogan “Black Lives Matter.”
The Floyd murder on May 25, 2020 led to sharp criticism of law enforcement methods not only in Minneapolis, a midwestern city, but other US metropolitan areas.
An investigation launched after his death by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights concluded last year that the tragedy was part of a pattern of “race discrimination” within the police force that spanned more than a decade.
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“Today, we confront our past and move forward with a roadmap for meaningful change in our city,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said in a statement.
“Our overriding goal will be building a better, more just approach to policing and community safety in Minneapolis,” Frey said.
The 144-page agreement announced Friday was negotiated between the city and the Department of Human Rights after an investigation’s findings were released last year. It still requires court approval.
The text includes provisions that police may no longer engage in pretextual stops of vehicles for certain minor violations, like a broken tail light, and can no longer search and frisk someone if they smell marijuana.
It calls for police to employ force only if “necessary” and in a de-escalatory manner “proportionate to the perceived threat.” It also prohibits using force to punish or retaliate.
Tasers should only be used if police have a reason to make an arrest and if it is necessary to “protect the officer, the individual or a third party,” the agreement says.