According to a report released by the American Civil Liberties Union, blacks are 11 times more likely to be arrested for low-level non-violent offenses in Minneapolis than their white counterparts.
The data released covers white and black arrest rates for four low-level non-violent offenses: disorderly conduct, marijuana possession, vagrancy and juvenile curfew violations/loitering.
“The Department is not meeting its Constitutional duty to protect and serve everyone equally and fairly,” said Emma Andersson staff attorney for the ACLU. “An arrest – even without a conviction – makes it harder for anyone to get a job and rent an apartment, and it can significantly limit educational opportunities.”
The Minneapolis Police Department’s own data, as reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting, reveals that between 2004 and 2012, an African American individual was, on average:
- 11.5 times more likely to be arrested than a white individual for marijuana possession;
- 8.86 times more likely to be arrested than a white individual for disorderly conduct;
- 7.54 times more likely to be arrested than a white individual for vagrancy; and
- 16.39 times more likely to be arrested than a white juvenile for curfew/loitering
“The Minneapolis Police Department has the ability to change its policing practices for enforcing these non-violent low-level arrests,” said Charles Samuelson, Executive Director of the ACLU-MN. “These arrests are largely subjective and therefore prone to the abusive exercise of officer discretion. The Mayor and Police Chief need to reassess its current arrest practices and take into account these alarming disparities when working on a plan for the Department’s future.”
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