MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The state of Minnesota filed a human rights complaint Tuesday against the Minneapolis Police Department in the death of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer who pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes, even after he stopped moving.
Gov. Tim Walz and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights announced the filing at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.
Widely seen bystander video showing Floyd’s death has sparked protests around the world. The officer, Derek Chauvin, has been fired and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Three other officers involved were fired but have not been charged.
The department enforces the state’s human rights act, particularly as it applies to discrimination in employment, housing, education, public accommodations and public services. Mediation is one of its first-choice tools, but the cases it files can lead to fuller investigations and sometimes end up in litigation.
The Minneapolis Police Department has faced decades of allegations brutality and other discrimination against African Americans and other minorities, even within the department itself. Critics say its culture resists change, despite the elevation of Medaria Arradondo as its first black police chief in 2017.
Arradondo himself was among five black officers who sued the police department in 2007 over alleged discrimination in promotions, pay, and discipline. They said in their lawsuit that the department had a history of tolerating racism and discrimination. The city eventually settled the lawsuit for $740,000.