Trust in America, its institutions, and the police is crucial and essential to how U.S. democracy functions.
And while talks of police reform are not new, it has become a major focus these past few years, especially in 2020 and 2021.
Now, a scathing report is out by the Department of Justice on the Minneapolis Police Department, the same department where one officer was convicted for the murder of George Floyd.
In the 89-page report, the DOJ says in part:
Minneapolis police used dangerous tactics and weapons against people for petty offenses or no crimes.
They punished residents who criticized the police.
They patrolled neighborhoods differently based on their racial makeup.
Andrea Jenkins, the president of the Minneapolis City Council, has been pretty public with her criticism of the city’s police department.
In 2021, Jenkins voted to replace the police department with a department of public safety.
In an interview with Scripps News, Jenkins said that now that the report is out, the community "can begin the real work of transforming public safety in the city of Minneapolis."
Jenkins says the report is disturbing but definitely not surprising, because African Americans in this country have "known that the police have been a destructive force in communities all across the country and certainly here in Minneapolis."
While the report lays out quite a few recommendations, including minimizing the use of force, improving data collection, improving training, and expanding non-police interventions, among other things, Jenkins doesn't believe that's enough.
"Those recommendations go to the extent where a lot of policy can change. We need policy change at the federal level to deal with qualified immunity," said Jenkins. "I think we have to have that if we really want to transform public safety and the way that our communities are being kept safe in this country. So to that end, no, [the recommendations] don't go far enough."
Jenkins says that the best way to go about changing is by looking deeper into the root issues, which include investing in affordable housing, education, and job training, which would help address the causes of some of the low-level crimes that often end up in violent police responses.
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