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Federal judge allows Minneapolis Police discrimination suit to go forward

A federal judge Wednesday denied a motion by the city of Minneapolis for a summary judgement in the case of Minneapolis Police Sgt. Giovanni Veliz, who has filed suit against the city and its police department claiming he was blocked for  retaliatory and discriminatory reasons from a position he sought on the Minnesota Gang Strike Force.

The Veliz suit is just one of a handful of discrimination suits and charges filed in recent months by officers of color against the Minneapolis Police Department. The most notable of those cases involves five black police officers who have filed suit against MPD saying that their careers have been blocked by department discrimination. That case currently is in a closed-door mediation process.

Veliz, a native of Ecuador with deep ties to the Hispanic community, believes he did not get the position he desired on the strike force because the department was angry at him for previously filing discimination charges.  The city denied those charges and asked Judge Richard Kyle to shut down the case for lack of evidence.

Kyle’s ruling allows the case to go forward. In his ruling, the judge noted, “It appears no minority sergeants have ever been appointed as sergeants on the (multijurisdictional) Strike Force.”

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