I wrote a set of critical notes on the April 27 Minnesota Department of Human Rights charge (a/k/a “report”) finding probable cause against the Minneapolis Police Department in “Who will speak for the MPD?” The charge has received enormous publicity in the Minnesota press, yet it is at the least problematic.
I wrote in my notes on the charge: “The report cites supporting materials including some 480,000 pages of documents, but the report is merely an indictment that barely touches on the underlying materials. I do not believe the underlying materials have been made available.” I promptly filed a Minnesota Data Practices Act request for inspection of the underlying materials. This morning I received the following response to my request:
Thank you for reaching out to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights with your request, which was if the underlying materials (480,000 pages of documents and other materials) are available for public inspection. You requested non-public data. State law (Minn. Stat. 363A.35) doesn’t permit the Minnesota Department of Human Rights to release non-public data.
There is no public data available beyond what’s available in the 72-page findings and posted on our website.
Communications Director | External Relations
Minnesota Department of Human Rights
My request was to inspect the underlying materials (“This is to request an inspection of the data collected in connection with the the department’s investigation of and/or finding of probable cause against the Minneapolis Police Department”). It wasn’t to ask if the materials are available for inspection under the Data Practices Act, but that is a quibble. I did submit my request under the Data Practices Act.
I want to see the underlying materials, but I nevertheless understand that those of us wanting to ferret out the other side of the story will have to turn elsewhere than the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. What we have right now is a charge that is questionable at best and in certain respects laughable on its face, though one would never know this from the putzes of the Minnesota media.