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Minnesota State to review law enforcement education programs

Announcement comes at heels of George Floyd's death in police custody.

Minnesota State Systems logo
Minnesota State Systems logo

ST. PAUL — Minnesota State will review its law enforcement program in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, Chancellor Devinder Malhotra announced Wednesday, June 17.

Malhotra told the school system's board of trustees during a meeting Wednesday afternoon of his plan to assemble a working group that will drive a probe of the program's potential for bias. Who those members are, and how they will work, is still being worked out.

Devinder Malhotra
Minnesota State Chancellor Devinder Malhotra. Forum News Service file photo

The effort is one of many that seeks to reform and re-examine law enforcement methods in Minnesota that disproportionately affect black citizens in the wake of Floyd's death. Floyd, who was black, died the night of May 25 shortly after former Minneapolis city police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes in a videotaped encounter that outraged the nation.

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Police officers approached Floyd, 46, in the course of responding to a call complaining that he allegedly used a counterfeit bill at a south Minneapolis convenience store. Amid local and national protests sparked by Floyd's death, some of which turned violent, Chauvin was fired from the city force and charged with murder and manslaughter.

Wednesday's announcement, meanwhile, came after students throughout the 30-college, seven-university state school system lent their voices to the call for change as well.

LeadMN, the state system's student association, implored trustees and administrators in written testimony to "take a hard look at the education and training we are providing" as Minnesota's "primary educator of our states law enforcement." Three of the four officers present the night of Floyd's death, the association pointed out, were previously enrolled in Minnesota State law enforcement programs.

All have since been arrested in connection with Floyd's death.

Board member Cheryl Tefer said during Wednesday's meeting that it would be wise for the school system to review law enforcement teachings even if it determines them to be sufficient.

"This particular board is a fulcrum upon which so much can happen," she said.

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