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Minneapolis Police Victim Skeptical Of Coming Reform Plan

Jaleel Stallings, a ,27-year-old truck driver faced attempted-murder charges and possibly decades behind bars. The broken eye socket, where Minneapolis police officers had kneed and punched him over and over, made it painful to move his face. He was a Black man who shot at the police, and he was still breathing to plead his case. In Minneapolis, a few days after the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, he believed that the justice system would see that this was all just a misunderstanding, reports The Marshall Project and the Washington Post. Instead, officers wrote reports that differed from what video cameras recorded, and prosecutors tried to put Stallings away for over a decade. He was acquitted of attempted murder of an officer, and won a $1.5 million settlement from the city in his lawsuit alleging police violated his civil rights.

Stallings’s case was among several instances of alleged misconduct in the Minneapolis Police Department probed by the Justice Department's civil rights division after Floyd’s murder. DOJ found that the department had systematically violated the civil rights of demonstrators, ultimately leading to a consent decree to reform various aspects of the agency. The independent police monitor tasked with enforcing that reform agreement is expected to release its initial plan this month. Stallings is skeptical about its chances of delivering meaningful change. “Policy change doesn’t change the people who do the job. It just forces them to find a new way to go about doing what they want to do,” Stallings said. This sense of inevitability is what he’s left with four years later. “I’ve been jumped. I’ve been in fights,” he said. “But seeing the criminal justice system … and the issues it has were a lot more traumatizing to me because they decide people’s lives on the daily.” The Minneapolis Police Department says it has made many changes since 2020, including new guidelines meant to limit the use of crowd-control weapons.


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