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Activists Want To Fix Minneapolis Racial Disparities

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - Several community activists groups met at City Hall to discuss ways to fix what they call racial disparities.

Black Lives Matter, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change and the ACLU organized the event.

Just last week, the ACLU released a report that examined more than 96,000 arrests by the Minneapolis Police Department.

The study found black people account for 19 percent of the population and 59 percent of low-level arrests like driving offenses, curfew violations, public consumption or trespassing.

The report collected data from January 2012 through September 2014.

Community activists say they want Minneapolis to be a place where everyone is treated equally.

The groups have also raised concerns about the city's spitting and lurking laws.

They say the ordinances are a form of racial profiling against black people and add to tensions with police. They believe now is the time to repeal them.

The city will likely vote on this issue on Friday.

When the ACLU findings came out last week, Chief Janee Harteau said the report does not take into account "repeat offenders."

On Thursday, she released this statement: "I continue to have open and candid conversations on race and policing on the local level, but it is imperative people realize this is also a national issue. As a board member of the Police Executive Research Forum, I am currently with other major city Chiefs leading the discussion. Yesterday we were given the report from the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing. After walking through the recommendations, we discussed what role each of us will play and how we can all move forward as individual departments, and as a nation of law enforcement officers. That discussion continues today with the nation's top cops.

The Minneapolis Police Department has been open and transparent in our local discussion, providing data, context and continued updates on a number of programs and initiatives we are in the midst of implementing."

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