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Associated Press, Published August 18 2013

Minneapolis police face 61 lawsuits

MINNEAPOLIS – The Minneapolis Police Department is facing 61 lawsuits alleging officers used excessive force that led to injuries, a figure that’s more than triple the 19 misconduct lawsuits pending against St. Paul police.

Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal said the number of misconduct suits in Minneapolis wasn’t extraordinary. She said the city is the largest city in the state, so the actions of its police force naturally draw extra scrutiny.

“Our police department has over a million contacts per year with members of the public,” she told the Minneapolis Star Tribune in an email. “A very few of those interactions result in claims and lawsuits, as with any major metropolitan area around the country.”

But critics say the numbers are excessive. Some say a subset of officers acts with impunity, while others believe race plays a factor.

In addition to the pending lawsuits, 110 misconduct suits have been resolved since January 2011. Of those, 51 were resolved in favor of the city or dismissed by the court, said Peter Ginder, Minneapolis deputy city attorney. The city made payouts in the other 59 cases.

The litigation is costly for Minneapolis taxpayers. Between 2006 and 2012, the city paid out about $14 million in police misconduct cases, according to an earlier Star Tribune report. And in May, it agreed to pay out $3 million for the 2010 death of a homeless man who was forcefully restrained by police.