Marcia Howard's voice cracked with emotion as she reflected on how it felt to finally see in print what many people of color had been saying for decades — that the Minneapolis Police Department engaged in a pattern of illegal racial discrimination.

Ever since the Minnesota Department of Human Rights released a damning report Wednesday finding that city police had engaged in racist practices over the last decade, she's heard "a whole lot of 'I told you so's.' "

"Each and every one of those 72 pages is an indictment of the Minneapolis Police Department and the city of Minneapolis for allowing these people to do this to the citizens of this city," said Howard, who has been a lead protester at George Floyd Square. "What person in their right mind and in the right spirit could read that report and think that we should continue in the way that we have?"

She added: "It has roiled our community. It is what we've been talking about nonstop."

If the report came as no surprise to Howard and many other Black Minnesotans, some hope that the findings of human rights investigators will at at last enlighten their white counterparts about the civil rights abuses that people of color face. And they want the investigation to force real change in the Police Department nearly two years after ex-officer Derek Chauvin's killing of Floyd spurred a national uprising against police brutalizing Black people.

The report found that Chauvin's actions were not an aberration but part of a systemic pattern of abuse.

The Minneapolis Police Department stops, searches, arrests, uses force against and kills people of color at far higher rates than white people, the report found, and several city political administrations failed to hold bad officers accountable. Minneapolis police also created social media accounts to monitor Black people and organizations uninvolved in criminal activity and emphasized paramilitary training that unnecessarily escalated encounters. Officers used racial slurs when talking about people of color, and prosecutors noted that it could be difficult to rely on officers' body camera videos in court because of how disrespectful their behavior was toward suspects, witnesses and bystanders.

"We have seen a lot of officers within the Minneapolis Police Department violate the civil rights of Americans, and when we brought this to the Police Department, nothing was done — they didn't even get suspended," said Bishop Harding Smith of the Spiritual Church of God in Robbinsdale. "So, this doesn't come as a shock to us because we knew that racism was embedded in the very foundation of the Minneapolis Police Department."

Smith said that he suspected police were using social media to monitor people calling for justice and equality but didn't think it was at the level described in the report.

"This is a violation on a major scale," Smith said. "This is so wrong. So, we're not out there chasing the criminals, we are out there monitoring people that are trying to bring change. … What a waste of time and resources."

Many were skeptical of Mayor Jacob Frey's remarks voicing outrage over the findings, believing that he had to know about the abuses — and that he had the power to change the police department he oversees.

"If he was ever sitting at the table with us then he would have already known that, but … he didn't want to know," said Lisa Clemons, a retired Minneapolis police sergeant who sued the department decades ago and is now an anti-violence activist.

She questioned why the Department of Human Rights "spent two years investing money and time to tell us what we already knew. Those two years should have been invested in making changes."

"I'm not going to feign shock," she added. "I'm not going to come out outraged about what I already knew."

Clinton Scott, 54, has seen the pattern of behavior laid out in the report go back far longer than a decade. He recalled Minneapolis police raiding a high school kegger on the city's south side in the 1980s and yelling racial slurs at Black partygoers. A few years later, Scott said, he tried to stop a police officer from brutalizing a petite Black woman only for the officer to threaten that he'd blow Scott's brains out.

"The stuff that they have let go on for these periods of time has been like cancer just running rampant," said Scott, a personal trainer who used to coach youth football in north Minneapolis and participated in community discussions about police reform after Floyd's killing. "And when you don't deal with cancer and you don't deal with it early, it can be dangerous."

Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, asked the community "to stand up and wake up" and called on Gov. Tim Walz and legislative leaders to respond to the report,

"We ask the city leadership who have failed us from all these mayors, all of the City Council … this failure is on their feet. They have failed our community, and it is time for them to listen to us."

Civil rights activist Nekima Levy Armstrong said the officers implicated in the report will likely escape discipline unless the city holds them accountable.

"Minneapolis city leadership not only owes the Black community an apology for ignoring the concerns, the evidence of systemic racism and significant injustices at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department," Levy Armstrong said. "They also need to come up with a plan for accountability for the officers with a documented history of misconduct, abuse and misuse of authority."

Anti-police brutality leaders met with the Department of Human Rights on Thursday to talk about how they wanted to assist the agency in fixing civil rights abuses in the Police Department. The Human Rights Department will work with the city to negotiate a court-enforceable consent decree, and community leaders want to ensure that they have influence in the process.

The report's findings are already shaping city leaders' conversations about how they should best seek to transform public safety. Elected officials are debating whether to create a new public safety agency and, if they do, whether police should be included from the outset or should have to first provide proof that they have made adequate progress on reforms.

"I just want to make sure that we internalize some of the most important takeaways from that report, not just how damning the report was for the behavior and conduct of our police force but how damning it was for many generations of leaders who sat on this body, who knew that that was an issue within that department and didn't take action," first-term City Council Member Elliott Payne said during Thursday's council meeting. "And, so, it is really, really, really important that we internalize that takeaway, that there are people who sat here, in this same seat, for decades, knowing how that force operated and took no action. And so let's not let that happen on our watch."

Liz Navratil contributed to this report.