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March 18, 2021

MPD Officers Use Excessive Force on Unhoused People and Activists

Minneapolis, MN– Nearly ten months following the brutal death of George Floyd as a result of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck, it is clear that Minneapolis Police have not changed their violent approaches to interacting with community members. Earlier today, police officers attempted to shutdown a homeless encampment in North Minneapolis through the use of excessive force, rather than de-escalation. This included an officer violently and egregiously kneeling on someone’s neck during the encounter, which could have resulted in death or serious bodily injury. (See video:

Residents were given two days notice to leave the encampment and were not provided alternative solutions that meet their needs. It is seemingly easier for the City to spend millions of dollars to protect buildings in downtown Minneapolis, instead of offering sensible solutions to unhoused community members.

“We just want to be left alone. We aren’t causing anybody any problems. The neighbors love us and support us. There is no justification for having us evicted from our homes. The stress and mental anguish from being constantly threatened to be removed from our homes is like be punished for just living our lives, and this is torturing and adding more trauma. Not only, do we have problems that housed people have, but we also have to deal with an unfathomable amount of problems, including Covid, which the experts state that encampments are safer than shelters, which many don’t realize are unsafe.” said Nightwolf, resident of the Near North encampment.

“Time and time again Mayor Jacob Frey shows his lack of imagination in solving challenging issues. He reverts back to the same old solution: let the police solve it. We know the police don’t solve these challenges, they exacerbate them”, said Sonja Muus, Racial Justice Network member.

We demand that Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Police Chief Arrandono refrain from using violence and threats of violence against our unhoused community members, who are vulnerable and often grappling with mental illness and trauma. Instead, the City should use its available resources to provide solutions that address the unique needs of unhoused community members and respect the dignity of unhoused persons in our community.

The Racial Justice Network (RJN) is a multi-racial, grassroots organization, committed to fighting for racial justice and building bridges across racial, social, and economic lines.