Despite judge ordering Minneapolis to increase number of cops, city moves forward trying to abolish police

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MINNEAPOLIS, MO – Following an approval from a Minneapolis City Council committee earlier in July, the effort to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with some form of “comprehensive public health approach” inched closer toward being able to appear on the November ballots in 2021 to leave it up to a vote for residents.

On July 21st, the Minneapolis City Council policy and government oversight committee moved forward an amendment proposed and submitted by the group “Yes 4 Minneapolis Committee” that would replace police with a public safety department that isn’t even close to being fleshed out in how it would work.

Councilmember Steve Fletcher, who acknowledged that the amendment only proposed an “intention” to disband the MPD without detailing what the replacement would look like, said he felt it should go through as-is anyway:

“I am persuaded that this is not going to get better with another two weeks. I’m persuaded that this language is a version of describing the intention of the petitioner and 20,000 people who signed the petition saying they want to create a significant change and that we should put it on the ballot. So I’m going to go ahead and move for approval of language as is.”

The amendment passed with a vote of 11 to 2, which will now have the amendment go before the full Minneapolis City Council for a vote. If the amendment can clear the full City Council, then Minneapolis residents will see the option to eliminate the MPD on the general election ballot in November.

Essentially, the same effort was attempted back in August of 2020, but was stopped in a de facto manner by the Minneapolis Charter Commission when they voted 10-5 to take an additional 90 days to review the proposed amendment to the city charter that would’ve ended the MPD.

By the Minneapolis Charter Commission voting for that review, it made it impossible for the amendment presented in August of 2020 from being able to meet the deadline to appear on the November 2020 ballot.

Also in August of 2020, a poll commissioned by the ACLU and The Fairness project reached out to 668 potential voters in Minneapolis, via phone and online interviews, and found that 56% of potential voters were in favor of getting rid of the MPD in exchange for a vaguely described “Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention”.

However, considering that the poll is nearly a year removed from when it was originally conducted – and the sample size of under 1,000 people were utilized in the poll – it’s extremely difficult to construe that poll as being an accurate representation of voter sentiments currently.

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Minneapolis has played host to a wild ride in the realm of policing, from some groups trying to eradicate the MPD while other groups claiming that more police are needed with rising crime. 

Earlier in July, we at Law Enforcement Today shared a report detailing Mayor Jacob Frey’s commitment to onboard more police officers – conveniently after a judge ruled that the city has to in order to meet compliance with the city’s charter. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Following a recent ruling by a Hennepin County District judge that would compel Minneapolis to increase their police force to 730 sworn officers by June 2022, Mayor Jacob Frey has come forward and said he’s committed to bringing on more police officers in the city

A recent ruling by Hennepin County District Judge Jamie L. Anderson regarding a lawsuit filed back in August of 2020 resulted in an order for the city of Minneapolis to onboard at least 730 sworn police officers by June 30th, 2022. 

The ruling came at a time when initial projections from the city estimated that by that same time, there would only be around 669 sworn officers on deck.

According to reports, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey is completely on board with making sure the city meets the mandates outlined in the judge’s ruling. 

This news shouldn’t really come as a shock, as we at Law Enforcement Today have reported since June of 2020 that Mayor Frey – while being a Democrat – was never cosigning the radical pushes of police defunding/abolishment by the City Council.

While Mayor Frey didn’t specifically reference the court order during his recent comments, he did say that the current attrition rate within the MPD “has been very problematic.”

The mayor’s comments did just so happened to have been delivered one day after the judge’s ruling, so it’s not unreasonable to speculate that they were directly referencing the ruling. 

Mayor Frey also noted that he completely supports MPD Chief Medaria Arradondo “entirely” and that it’s pivotal to make sure the police chief has the “necessary tools”:

“Part of assisting [the chief] in getting the right outcomes means that we need to give him the necessary tools that he needs to succeed.”

While outfits like the City Council have been adamant on completely abolishing the MPD and replacing it with some sort of community crime prevention squad, Mayor Frey thinks that the community could benefit from having both police and “community oriented strategies”: 

“This is a both/and approach. We need community-oriented strategies that go beyond policing and you need officers as well.”

“It is our intention to make sure that we are pushing for allocations both through [the American Rescue Plan] as well as through the ongoing budget to make sure we are bringing the necessary personnel into the Minneapolis Police Department.”

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As mentioned earlier, we at Law Enforcement Today reported on the recent ruling regarding the onboarding of more sworn police officer in Minneapolis. 

Here’s that previous report from earlier in July that detailed the case and the rationale for the ruling. 

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN – A Hennepin County District ruled in favor of a group that filed a lawsuit in August of 2020 that was demanding more police officers be hired in the wake of the George Floyd riots and overall increase in violent crime. 

Back in August of 2020, the Upper Midwest Law Center – which through its website describes itself as “center-right, non-profit, public interest law firm” partnered with the Center of the American Experiment – filed a lawsuit on the behalf of eight north Minneapolis residents. 

The complaint filed on the behalf of the residents alleged that “Minneapolis is in a crisis” with respect to rising homicide rates and shootings – not to mention the rioting that occurred after George Floyd’s death. 

A call to action was brought up in the lawsuit, demanding that Minneapolis have an appropriate amount of sworn police officers with respect to the population level within the city. 

Hennepin County District Judge Jamie L. Anderson issued a Writ of Mandamus in favor of the group filing the suit, which orders Minneapolis to enlist at least 730 sworn police officers by the end of June 2022. 

This ruling comes at a time where the current projected number of sworn officers for June of 2022 is slated to be 649. 

Judge Anderson wrote in his decision that the group filing the suit were able to demonstrate that Minneapolis’ rising crime rates were heavily influenced by a police force lacking a proper amount of sworn officers. 

One of the petitioners behind the suit claimed that they’d been diagnosed with PTSD after their home had been shot at twice since the fallout of the riots last year. 

This ruling also comes shortly after the Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously to amend the city’s charter that would completely remove the mandate of having an actual police department

A draft of this amended city charter would replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a “Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention”, which said department “will have responsibility for public safety services prioritizing a holistic, public health-oriented approach.”

Even though the Minneapolis City Council members voted unanimously to amend the city charter, this draft still would have to make it past a policy committee and the city’s Charter Commission for a formal review.

Charter Commission Chairman Barry Clegg has already voiced concerns of entertaining the eradication of the MPD to be replaced by an idea that isn’t even fully formed: 

“As I understand it, they are saying, ‘We are going to have this new department. We don’t know what it’s going to look like yet. We won’t implement this for a year, we’ll figure it out.”

“For myself anyway, I would prefer that we figured it out first, and then voted on it.”

In other news pertaining to policing in the state of Minnesota, Governor Tim Walz announced on June 28th executive action related to increasing transparency and accountability in police work, among other endeavors.

Governor Walz’s executive action in part will direct state law enforcement agencies, to include the Minnesota State Patrol and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, to create a policy that would allow family members of suspects killed by law enforcement to view bodycam footage within five days from a critical incident. 

These efforts are all part of a broader “public safety package”, as it was referred to as by the Associated Press, where $15 million in grants from the American Rescue Plan federal stimulus will also go toward violence prevention programs on concurrence with various reforms on policing. 

Reportedly this “public safety package” also includes provisions regulating the use of no-knock warrants, establishing a police misconduct database, and the creation of “an office of missing and murdered indigenous relatives as well as a task force for missing and murdered Black women.”

Governor Walz said that these efforts help to create a system that “truly protects all Minnesotans”:

“Right now, we have an opportunity to create safer communities for all Minnesotans by building a public safety system focused on transparency, accountability, and violence prevention.”

“These policy changes and increased investments in safety — together with the Minnesota Police Accountability Act signed into law last summer and the bipartisan public safety plan this legislative session — get us closer to a system of public safety that truly protects all Minnesotans.”

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