George Floyd protests: Report reveals flaws in Minnesota law enforcement response in 2020


The report also revealed that state law enforcement used tactics that were often perceived to escalate the situation, law enforcement allegedly unlawfully arrested journalists, participating law enforcement followed different formations and rules of engagement that contradicted each other sometimes, and “repeatedly”. law enforcement failed to differentiate legitimate protesters from illegal protesters.

The report was produced by Wilder Research, a Minnesota-based research group hired by the state to “conduct an independent external review of the state’s response to civil unrest and rioting.” The findings were made public in a 129-page report on Thursday.

The purpose of the state-commissioned review was not only to find out “what the state did right and what didn’t do right” during the unrest, but also to provide recommendations on how to how to better handle similar circumstances in the future.

Regarding working with the Minneapolis Police Department, part of the report said, “A state official recalled, ‘we would try to implement containment, and then they would come by and disperse everyone. So we were essentially working against each other.’ This has resulted in a reluctance to share resources and work in a unified manner to ensure public safety.”

The report continues: “A state official reported, “I recognized other behaviors that concerned me, such as the use of chemical munitions by the MPD. When they came to me and asked for more chemical munitions, because they were short, I told them no. I was unwilling to do so because I didn’t feel their use was wise and appropriate.

However, it was state law enforcement who arrested the CNN crew reporting on the morning of May 29, 2020 in Minneapolis. In one area of ​​improvement listed in the report, he said “law enforcement allegedly unlawfully detained, arrested, or improperly used crowd dispersal methods against journalists.”

“There have been several cases of journalists alleging exposure to irritating or inflammatory agents, often called tear gas, and other crowd dispersal methods and being wrongfully detained or arrested by law enforcement. (unclear whether these were state or local jurisdictions) despite displaying legitimate media credentials,” the report read.

A “media representative” quoted in the report said: “They were arresting people who were clearly identified as established media. We are not talking about fringe media, bloggers. We are talking about established media. [media outlets].”

Regarding coordination, part of the report reads: “State-level officials and MPD representatives expressed frustration with the lack of communication between MACC leaders [Multi-Agency Command Center] and the Minneapolis Emergency Operations Center.”

“This led to several challenges, including the initial use of competing law enforcement strategies,” he continued.

Another major “area for improvement” named by the report was state tactics that were “often seen as escalating”.

“The actions of state law enforcement on the ground during the unrest were widely viewed as adversarial, unnecessary, and counterproductive to bringing calm and safety to the community,” according to “the majority of members of community and business owners who participated in this review”.

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The report contained several recommendations to improve the state’s response to future civil unrest. On the issue of escalation, part of the report said, “Riot equipment and less lethal munitions should not be visible to protesters unless law enforcement is under imminent threat. and intend to use these weapons against the crowd. The DPS should discourage law enforcement from donning riot gear unless the safety of responders is at risk.”

“A show of force by law enforcement can incite fear and aggression among protesters,” he continued.

Of all the recommendations, three were rated as “critical”: strengthen multi-agency coordination systems, improve coordination and relations with local jurisdictions and the media, and direct efforts to resolve tensions between military forces. order and communities through intentional efforts of confidence building, education, and police accountability and transformation.

The wide-ranging report also noted strengths in the state’s response to the unrest, including that the State Patrol, Minnesota National Guard and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources mobilized quickly and worked effectively. with other agencies to protect critical infrastructure and human resources. life, included elected officials in briefings, imposed effective curfews “although they are controversial”, and more.

Agencies review report

In response to the report, Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington wrote a letter to Minnesota Governor Tim Walz on Wednesday, which read, among other things, “The Department of Public Safety is committed to adopting a culture of ‘continuous improvement. In addition to the findings of this report, other external reviews, and our internal after-action findings, we are committed to engaging in community discussions and meetings with Wilder to review the findings and continue to find ways to improve and strengthen the trust.”

Harrington also wrote that the department “will continue to advance a community-based approach to public safety in all of our work as well as in this session’s legislative proposals. Our work is not done.”

The city of Minneapolis is reviewing the report, Minneapolis city spokeswoman Sarah McKenzie wrote to CNN.

“The city is also focused on implementing recommendations from Hillard Heintz’s after-action report, which was presented to city council earlier this month. The city has engaged the Security Risk Management Company to review the city’s response to the civil unrest following the murder of George Floyd,” he continued.

The report by security risk management firm Hillard Heintz – released on March 7 – revealed widespread chaos and poor communication between city leaders that contributed to an unorganized police response to the violent unrest that then ensued. spread across the country.


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