Harteau: ACLU arrest analysis lacks context

A study of Minneapolis police data revealed black people are nearly nine times more likely to be arrested for low-level offenses in the city than white people and American Indians are more likely to be arrested as well.

A study of Minneapolis police data revealed black people are nearly nine times more likely to be arrested for low-level offenses in the city than white people and American Indians are more likely to be arrested as well.

The study, conducted by the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota analyzed 96,975 arrests by the Minneapolis Police Department from Jan. 1, 2012 through Sept. 30, 2014, focusing only on low-level crimes.

By the numbers

The ACLU's analysis cited the following data:

White people:
64% of Minneapolis population
23% of low-level arrests


Black people:
19% of Minneapolis population
59% of low level arrests


Harteau: Analysis lacks context

Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau said the numbers lack a lot of context, especially considering repeat offenders.

"That one person arrested 51 times would be counted as 51 African American males arrested and the reality of it is it's one person with 51 arrests," she said.

The department's own numbers over 5 years say only 45,000 people were arrested once, the rest were repeats.

Executive director of the ACLU of Minnesota Chuck Samuelson said these numbers weren't surprising, but that they're measuring and publicizing it so anyone can see it. Samuelson agreed some people get arrested a lot, but insists the numbers still tell a story of discrimination.

"Black people get stopped more than white people. I don't care who you are, where you are, you get stopped if you're black. There have been studies and there's always, 'We've got to study it some more.' We don't need to study it anymore, it's a fact," he said.

Mayor Betsy Hodges statement

"I ran on the vision of building One Minneapolis, a city where your success and your safety is not determined by your class, race, or zip code," said Mayor Betsy Hodges. "I am committed to closing every harmful gap—safety, health, education, income, housing, and employment—where outcomes are worse for people of color than white people.

"This data is another reminder of the work that we have in front of us, the work that I am committed to doing. It comes at a fortuitous time as we are focused on criminal justice reform, particularly when it comes to youth. The more information we have, the better. Our Bloomberg Innovation Delivery Team is going to drill down into existing data to help ensure that the city delivers services more equitably.

"I will continue working with the community and our Police Department to create meaningful change. I applaud council members for their time and efforts on these issue as well."

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