MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Three Republican senators from greater Minnesota are calling for a federal investigation of the Minneapolis Police Department. They say they don’t believe Gov. Tim Walz’s ordered state investigation can be fair.
Earlier this month, the State Department of Human Rights charged the Minneapolis Police Department with discrimination, and started an investigation into the department’s actions over the past 10 years.
The three Republican senators — Sen. Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson), Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria), and Sen. David Senjem (R-Rochester) — wrote a letter to Attorney General William Barr, asking him to investigate the Minneapolis Police Department because “the State of Minnesota is not capable of conducting a fair and impartial investigation into allegations of constitutional civil rights violations” by the police department.
“The commissioner of the Department of Human Rights, who obviously has made a determination in her mind that the Minneapolis police department is a racist organization,” Sen. Scott Newman said.
The senators pointed to commissioner Rebecca Lucero’s comments at a June 2 news conference, in which she said “community leaders have been asking for structural change, working for it, bleeding for it, and dying for it.”
The senators also wrote in the letter they feared for the civil rights of Minneapolis residents after the city council voted to quote “dismantle” the police department. The senators said the increase in violence and shootings in Minneapolis is a direct result of that vote.
“Believe me, the bad guys are listening,” Sen. Ingebrigtsen, a former Douglas County Sheriff, said.
Sen. Ingebrigtsen was quick to condemn the Floyd arrest and said a thorough investigation is needed.
“That was a horrible arrest, an absolutely horrible arrest,” he said. “As far as racism, I think it is just a sidebar here. It is what it is, I am sorry to say that, you are not going to want to hear it, I want somebody to be treated exactly the same as somebody of whatever color, there shouldn’t be any color involved here.”
The investigation the Republican senators are asking for would be a civil investigation. The federal Department of Justice already has an ongoing criminal investigation into possible civil rights violations in George Floyd’s death.
The senators say they only sent their letter asking for a Department of Justice investigation on Monday, so they have not heard back on their request.
WCCO has reached out to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights for comment.