On Friday morning, John Pope answered his phone while boarding a flight to Atlanta. The U.S. Department of Justice had just released the results of a scathing federal investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department, including 28 recommendations for institutional change.

The report was deeply personal for the 20-year-old Minneapolis man. He received a $7.5 million settlement from the city this year stemming from a 2017 instance of excessive force involving Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, when Pope was 14. But even though Chauvin now sits behind bars for George Floyd's murder, and even though the report details a history of Minneapolis police misconduct while paving a path forward, Pope remained skeptical about any lasting change.

"You can talk about change all you want — it's not going to change if they don't put forth the effort," Pope said. "It has to be a culture of change, like any business. If they're not willing to change the culture, then nothing will change."

Those who have felt the sting of the injustices exposed in the report experienced three simultaneous emotions after U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland stood at a lectern in Minneapolis:

Recognition that these findings are unsurprising, with problems long embedded in the department.

Hope that federal government involvement will spur meaningful change.

And skepticism that such an ingrained culture — in the Police Department itself, and also in a city the report calls "marked by stark racial inequality" — can transform any time soon.

But many recognized the report's release as a historic moment.

"Everybody's going to hear about it, not just the select few that had encounters with MPD," Terrence Floyd, George Floyd's brother, said from his home in Brooklyn, N.Y. "Anything on paper is still not a concrete thing. But I have faith everything's changing for the better. The same thing I saw when the world came together for 9/11, the same thing I saw when the world came together for my brother. I see the love. I see the compassion."

Marcia Howard — a lead community activist at George Floyd Square, the site of Floyd's murder — was moved to tears when she read the report.

"The next part is, what are you going to do about it?" Howard said. "They are admitting that we are under abusive, terroristic threat every single day that we walk the streets of Minneapolis. Do we wait until the police attempt to police themselves?"

Still, Howard feels cautiously hopeful.

So does Hennepin County Sheriff Dawanna Witt. She has experienced the breadth of police-community interactions: as a Black girl growing up in the Twin Cities who disliked and mistrusted police, and later as a police officer and now sheriff who sees the need for reform in a profession vital to the community.

"Court-enforceable settlement agreements lay out helpful guidelines, but they do not amount to the culture change that residents deserve," Witt said. "If we can identify that these unjustifiable acts of racism or indecency occurred, are the people who perpetuated this type of culture still there? And what do we do about them?"

The federal report comes three years after Floyd's murder sparked worldwide protests and destructive riots that shook the Twin Cities for nearly a week.

A central theme of the report was that this wasn't about one rogue police officer; rather, a longstanding department culture hasn't supported staffers with proper training or held officers accountable for even the most grievous abuses of power, instead enabling misconduct.

"We acknowledge the considerable daily challenges that come with being an MPD officer," the report read, noting that hundreds of officers have left the force since May 2020, and the low morale of remaining officers. "The challenges of the last few years have only exacerbated that toll for some MPD officers."

Calls to the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association were not immediately returned Friday.

The Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis released a statement late Friday saying that the report "will merely be used by those who are inclined to have an anti police bias to justify their beliefs while those who are more pro-police will question the report's findings. As with most things, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Over the years, there have been exponentially more instances of heroic and selfless acts performed by dedicated officers in harrowing circumstances than those described in the report."

Jeff Storms, a Minneapolis civil rights attorney who was part of the team that brought the civil suit on behalf of Floyd's family, said he hopes federal government involvement gives teeth to reform efforts. Minneapolis police, he added, won't reform on their own.

Storms wants the consent decree to go beyond what he's seen as empty promises from politicians during past flashpoints.

"The police union has played an important role in frustrating change, but politicians use the union as the bogeyman or scapegoat," Storms said. "All of this works together."

For Andre "Buddy" Locke, whose son Amir Locke was shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer last year during the execution of a no-knock warrant in a homicide investigation, the recommendations of the report weren't as powerful as its symbolism: The day saw the attorney general of the United States come to Minneapolis and call out not just the Police Department, but the whole city.

"A lot of our white brothers and sisters, they live in a different type of circumstances than Black and brown people, a different life," Locke said. "If you need the statistics, well, today you got them."

However, Locke noted the mixed message of the federal report coming at the same time as the Minneapolis City Attorney's Office moving to dismiss the family's civil suit. It was an "amazing day," he said, but also "a slap in the face."

Rachel Thunder, a member of the American Indian Movement, said the report confirmed what she's heard for years about discrimination against Native Americans, and she noted her own arrest at a peaceful gathering: "I know from experience that MPD is weaponized against our freedom of speech and right to protest."

Community leaders fighting police brutality held a news conference at City Hall shortly after the report's release. Some raised concerns that because the Police Department probe only went back to 2016, it didn't address the full scope of the problem.

Civil rights leader Nekima Levy Armstrong noted there hasn't been a movement to remove officers with a history of abuse, and no redress for families who lost loved ones to police violence in cases where the officers involved were not held accountable.

Michelle Gross, president of Communities United Against Police Brutality, praised the report as robust and well-documented but expressed disappointment that it didn't address the Police Department's treatment of homeless people, given the controversy over police raids on homeless encampments. She also called for strong oversight of the consent decree.

"We want real monitors who are going to hold the city accountable for their results,'' Gross said.

Don Damond, fiancé of Justine Ruszczyk who was shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer in 2017, noted that the report reached similar conclusions — and had similar recommendations — as the state Department of Human Rights report released last year.

Damond does not believe in abolishing or defunding police. He believes transformation can happen — ploddingly and bumpily.

"Accountability and change happens slowly, especially in cultures where people have their heels dug in," Damond said. "They're fish – they don't even know they're in water. Now people are calling out the water."