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U. of Minnesota Curbing Ties to Minneapolis Police

Paul Steinbach

The University of Minnesota has announced it will no longer use Minneapolis Police Department officers to assist university police with security at major campus events, including football games.

The announcement came from university president Joan Gabel in a letter to students, faculty and staff Wednesday, two days after George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died at the hands of white MPD officers roughly five miles from TCF Bank Stadium on the U of M campus in Minneapolis. One officer, Derek Chauvin, was caught on video kneeling on Floyd's neck for several minutes as Floyd is heard stating that he couldn't breathe. Three additional officers on the scene did nothing to stop Chauvin or assist Floyd.

All four officers involved in the incident were fired Tuesday. On Wednesday, Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey demanded criminal charges for the officers.

"Our hearts are broken after watching the appalling video capturing the actions of Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) officers against George Floyd leading to his tragic death," Gabel said in her letter, as reported by ESPN. "As a community, we are outraged and grief-stricken. I do not have the words to fully express my pain and anger and I know that many in our community share those feelings, but also fear for their own safety. This will not stand."

Gabel, whose term as Minnesota's first woman president began last year, said she has directed school officials to "no longer contract the Minneapolis Police Department" for large on-campus events, including football games, and said the school will cut ties with the MPD for "specialized services" such as "K-9 explosive detection units." Minnesota also will "limit our collaboration with the MPD to joint patrols and investigations that directly enhance the safety of our community or that allow us to investigate and apprehend those who put our students, faculty, and staff at risk."

On Tuesday, student body president Jael Kerandi issued a letter and petition calling for the university to sever its MPD ties. "We no longer wish to have a meeting or come to an agreement, there is no middle ground," Kerandi's letter said, according to ESPN. "The police are murdering black men with no meaningful repercussions. This is not a problem of some other place or some other time. This is happening right here in Minneapolis."

The Minnesota Vikings, whose U.S. Bank Stadium stands mere blocks from where the incident took place, posted the following on Twitter, as reported by Sports Illustrated, "We are deeply saddened by the loss of life that occurred Monday evening just blocks from our stadium. Everyone in our community deserves the right to feel protected and safe. Our thoughts are with the George Floyd family and all individuals who have been affected by this tragedy."

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