Minneapolis To Ban Chokeholds, Require Officers To Intervene Against Unauthorized Force

MINNEAPOLIS (AP/WCCO) — Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has signed a temporary restraining order (TRO) with the state of Minnesota, which will force immediate policing reforms for the Minneapolis Police Department in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

The Minneapolis City Council approved the TRO during an emergency meeting early Friday afternoon.

In the last week, city leaders and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) have worked out an agreement for the temporary restraining order to force some immediate changes and set a timeline for the state’s civil rights investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department.

MORE: Read the court order. (.PDF)

Some of those changes include banning the use of chokeholds by police and requiring officers to report and intervene if excessive force is being used by another officer.

Another change addresses crowd control. The Minneapolis Police Chief will be required to authorize use of all crowd control weapons, including tear gas.  The police chief must also make timely discipline decisions.

“George Floyd’s service yesterday underscored that justice for George requires more than accountability for the man who killed him – it requires accountability from elected leadership to deep, structural reforms,” Frey said. “Today’s agreement with the state will help bring those layers of accountability. This unprecedented energy and momentum for police reform has left Minneapolis poised not just to address our shortcomings, but to become a model for shifting police culture and uprooting systemic racism.”

Frey directed the changes to be made immediately. He’ll continue to work with the city council to identify further reforms.

“This will accompany a renewed push for changes in the police union contract as the city negotiates a new agreement. On or before July 30, the City will provide a list to the State outlining laws that impede the ability to implement reforms,” the mayor’s office said.

Gov. Tim Walz expressed his support for the immediate changes.

“We are moving quickly to create substantive change,” Walz said. “I’m grateful to City of Minneapolis leadership for taking these critical steps with us to address the systemic inequities that have persisted for generations in our criminal justice system.”

Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan called it a “historic step” in dismantling discriminatory practices.

“The immediate changes that the Minneapolis Police Department agreed to implement bring us another step closer to justice for George Floyd, and all Minnesotans who have experienced different treatment from law enforcement. It is long overdue,” she said.

The changes are expected to be just the beginning of the push for sweeping reforms in the city’s criminal justice system.

In no uncertain terms, Council President Lisa Bender and member Jeremiah Ellison tweeted Thursday that they plan to dismantle the police department.

“Yes. We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a transformative new model of public safety,” Bender said.

Ellison said the dismantling of the police department is past due.

“When we’re done, we’re not simply gonna glue it back together,” he said. “We are going to dramatically rethink how we approach public safety and emergency response.”

Meanwhile, Mayor Jacob Frey has said he wants reform in the police department and to address systemic racism, but said he does not want to abolish the police.

The state human rights department opened a civil rights investigation into allegations of racial discrimination by the police department on Tuesday. The investigation into policies, procedures and practices seeks to determine if the force has engaged in systematic discriminatory practices toward people of color and ensure that any such practices are stopped.

The city’s school district, the University of Minnesota and other agencies, organizations and businesses have severed ties with the department in the past 10 days since 46-year-old George Floyd died while being arrested by four now-former officers. All face criminal charges, and all are in custody.

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(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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