Unnecessary use of police force has been a major rallying cry for protesters across the U.S. searching for justice in the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others. For Minneapolis, the officer responsible for Floyd’s death has been charged with second-degree murder, with the three other officers on the scene charged with aiding and abetting. Still, data from The New York Times shows the Minneapolis Police Department as a whole uses force against African Americans a majority of the time.
In data collected by The New York Times, the MPD was found to use force against black people at 7 times the rate of white people in the city during police encounters. These include gunpoint display and chemical irritants such as pepper spray and mace, where over two-thirds of all instances since 2015 were used against black people. Others include neck restraints and body-weight pins, which was responsible for the death of George Floyd.
In total, the MPD has documented roughly 11,500 instances of use of force by officers since 2015; at least 6,650 have been used against black people.
Data from the Times shows the trend of police force against black citizens in Minneapolis has trended downward in the past 10 years. In 2010, roughly two-thirds of police force was used against black people, while in 2019, it went down to 59 percent. Some in the city praise the efforts done in the last few years to reign in police violence but believe more needs to be done. Others believe there is a huge problem hidden underneath the surface, and that many more instances of police force haven’t been recorded.