Tech

Minneapolis police used traffic stops and fake social media profiles to target communities of color


“Since 2010, of the 14 individuals MPD officers have killed, 13 of them have been people of color or Indigenous peoples,” the report reads. “People of color and Indigenous peoples make up approximately 42% of the population of Minneapolis but account for 93% of all MPD officer-related deaths between January 1, 2010 and February 2, 2022.”

Clear racial disparities can be seen in the widespread use of chemical weapons and other “less lethal” weapons. MPD officers deployed pepper spray against Blacks at a higher rate than they did against whites. From the report: “Officers were found to have used chemical stimulants in 25.1% of violence incidents involving Black individuals. In contrast, MPD officials recorded chemical stimulant use in 18.2% of violent incidents involving whites under similar circumstances.” Overall, according to the report, “between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2020, 63% of uses of force recorded by MPD officers were against Black individuals.”

Unfortunately, stopping traffic is no different. “Although Black individuals make up about 19% of the population of Minneapolis, MPD data shows that between January 1, 2017 and May 24, 2020, 78% — or more than 6,500 — of all calls searches conducted by MPD officers are searches of Black individuals or their vehicles during traffic stoppages initiated by police officers. According to the report, black people in Minneapolis are 6 times more likely to be subjected to physical violence when stopped than their white neighbors.

The Minneapolis Police Department did not respond to our request for comment.

The Secret Police: An MIT Technology Review Investigation

This story is part of a series that provides an unprecedented look at how federal and local law enforcement uses cutting-edge technological tools to create a total surveillance system across the globe. the streets of Minneapolis and its implications for the future of policy. You can find the entire series here.

Illegal surveillance

The report also describes the department’s use of secret social media accounts to spy on Blacks: “MPD officers used covert or fake social media accounts to survey and engage on Black individuals, Black organizations, and elected officials not involved in criminal activity, not publicly targeting safety. ”

Online, officers used secret accounts to follow, comment, and message groups like the NAACP and Urban League while posing as like-minded individuals.

“In one case, an MPD officer used a secret MPD account posing as a Black community member to send a message to a local branch of the NAACP criticizing the group. In another case, an MPD officer posed as a community member and responded to attend the birthday party of a prominent Black lawyer and civil rights activist,” the report said. .

The same, similar, Report of MIT Technology Review showed that officers kept at least three watch lists of people present at and around racist and policing protests. Nine state and local police teams are part of a multi-agency response program called Operation Safety Net, which works in collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to obtain police officers. tools to monitor, compile datasets, and increase communication sharing during racial justice protests in the state. Programme continued long after the public discharge was announced.

Although our investigation did not probe the extent of racial bias, it did show that local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies have learned to work collaboratively to address anonymous protest — a core tenet of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution’s First Amendment protection of free speech —All but impossible.



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