The Potluck

Trio of GOP state senators to call for federal investigation of Minneapolis Police Department

By: - June 22, 2020 5:35 pm

Photo by Tony Webster/Minnesota Reformer.

Three Republican state senators are calling on U.S. Attorney General Willliam Barr to open an investigation into the Minnesota Police Department’s response to unrest and rioting that broke out after George Floyd’s death.

Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, Sen. David Senjem, R-Rochester, and Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, have scheduled a Tuesday news conference to ask for a “practice-or-pattern” investigation into the police department’s response to riots after the police killing of George Floyd. 

The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division often conducts such investigations amid allegations of “serious patterns and practices of excessive force, biased policing, and other unconstitutional practices by law enforcement.”

It’s not clear how the federal government will proceed. Controversial Minneapolis police union leader Bob Kroll is a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump’s. Last year, he took the stage during a Trump rally in Minneapolis and praised Trump as a “wonderful leader.” In the aftermath of Floyd’s death, Kroll has stood up for the officers now facing criminal charges.

And the Justice Department has curtailed the use of consent decrees to deal with departments accused of abuse and wrongdoing, including departments in Baltimore and Ferguson, Mo. In 2018, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered such agreements curbed. 

The police officers’ actions during Floyd’s arrest are already being looked at by the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training. Attorney General Keith Ellison has taken over the prosecution of the officers facing charges, and the state is conducting a wide ranging investigation of the police department.

The press conference will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday in the Minnesota Senate Building and live streamed on the Minnesota Senate Republican Caucus Facebook page.

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Deena Winter
Deena Winter

Deena Winter has covered local and state government in four states over the past three decades, with stints at the Bismarck Tribune in North Dakota, as a correspondent for the Denver Post, city hall reporter in Lincoln, Nebraska, and regional editor for Southwest News in the western Minneapolis suburbs. Before joining the staff of the Reformer in 2021 she was a contributor to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. She and her husband have a daughter, son, and very grand child. In her spare time, she likes to play tennis, jog, garden and attempt to check out all the best restaurants in the metro area.

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