Minneapolis To Reduce Police Psych Testing After Screening Out Too Many Minorities

Anders Hagstrom | Justice Reporter

The city of Minneapolis may fire its police psychology evaluator because his tests screened out too many minority candidates, despite already lowering psych evaluations far below the national standard.

The July police shooting of Justine Damond triggered the city to scrutinize its psychological standards for police, with many claiming they’d become lax. Psychiatrist Thomas Gratzer has run psych testing for the Minneapolis police for the past five years, and in that time, he has eliminated four of the five tests used to determine whether a candidate is fit to be an officer, APM reported Thursday. Now, Gratzer is facing firing not for gutting his standard, but for screening out too many minorities.

Mohamed Noor, the officer who shot Damond, is Somali and was one of 200 cops approved by Gratzer’s standards over the past five years, which were already far below the national standard. (RELATED: 150 Minnesota Cops Are Convicted Criminals)

Minneapolis used a more standard five-test procedure up until 2012, and according to a 2004 federal study, those tests worked. The study found that the officers flagged as concerning by the tests were three times more likely to engage in misconduct, APM reported.

There’s no way to verify whether Noor shot Damond due to mental unfitness, but many are calling for him to be charged due to the circumstances of the encounter. Noor and his partner were responding to Damond’s call when she exited her home and approached the police car. Noor claims to have then heard a loud banging noise as someone–presumably Damond–slapped the car.

Seconds later, Noor opened fire and Damond was killed.

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges took to Facebook following the shooting, immediately coming to the defense of Minnesota’s Somali community.

“To the Somali community: I want you to know that you are a valued and appreciated part of Minneapolis,” she wrote. “I stand with you and support you. The strength and beauty of the Somali and East African communities are a vital part of what makes Minneapolis so strong and beautiful. I am grateful to be your neighbor.”

Noor has not faced any charges.

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