Community renews call for independent investigation of Minneapolis police

Religious leaders and activists from Minneapolis' black community gathered outside City Hall today to call for an independent investigation of racially charged incidents involving Minneapolis police officers.

Jerry McAfee, pastor of New Salem Baptist Church in north Minneapolis, said officers who abuse citizens are not held accountable by the current leadership. He pointed to a 2003 agreement brokered by the U.S. Department of Justice as an example of what needs to be done.

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"There are police officers that no longer need to be on this force because they're not enforcing the law -- they're not even obeying the law."

"If you remember, the feds came in and pushed the police to meet with the community," Mcafee said. "That needs to happen again because nothing has changed."

Former Minneapolis City Councilmember Brian Herron said the recent incidents are part of a long-standing problem of police misconduct in Minneapolis.

"We're not saying all police officers are bad, but there are bad police officers," Herron said. "There are police officers that no longer need to be on this force because they're not enforcing the law -- they're not even obeying the law."

In June, two off-duty Minneapolis officers used profanity and racially-charged language following a fight in Green Bay, Wis. Both officers were later placed on leave.

Three other off-duty Minneapolis officers were cited after a bar fight with a group of black men in Apple Valley, Minn., in November. Two of the officers later pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in that case.

The Minneapolis Police Department is conducting internal affairs investigations of both incidents.

Activists also criticized the investigation into the death of Terrance Franklin, a 22-year-old black man killed during an altercation with Minneapolis police in an uptown Minneapolis basement in May. A Hennepin County grand jury will convene in the coming months to decide whether charges are warranted in Franklin's death.

Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau attended a meeting today of the Citizens' Advisory Council.

A police statement said the council is intended to "move the MPD forward in the improvement of community relations and engagement." The meeting was not open to media or public.

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