MINNEAPOLIS, MN- After nearly two years of the “defund the police” movement being pushed in large cities like Minneapolis, the Minnesota Supreme Court has now ordered Minneapolis to immediately hire more police officers or to prove why they are unable to do so.
The Minneapolis Police Department has seen on exodus of more than 300 officers since the death of George Floyd
— meg crane (@megcrane8) June 21, 2022
According to FOX 9, in their order, the justices wrote that the city charter gives Mayor Jacob Frey a “clear legal duty” to maintain at least 731 officers in the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD).
The justices returned the case to a Hennepin County judge to handle the details and set a date for the city to provide evidence of its staffing efforts. Chief Justice Lorie Gildea signed the order and the court does not release how the other six justices ruled.
The order by the justices follows a lawsuit filed by eight Northside residents in 2020 as MPD’s sworn officer numbers plunged in the wake of the death of George Floyd. As of late May, the city had just barely 621 officers, which is a total of 110 below its staffing requirement.
James Dickey, the plaintiff’s attorney, wrote in an email:
‘This is a huge victory for our clients and the residents of Minneapolis. MPD is under the required amount by at least 100 officers and we look forward to seeing the evidence of what the mayor and city council have done to change that.”
The Minneapolis Police Department is looking for a new police chief, according to an internal job posting. The posting says a "national search is underway."
— Luke Barr (@LukeLBarr) June 21, 2022
The Supreme Court had removed the city council from the case because the council had included adequate funding in the 2022 budget for the minimum number of officers. Through a consent decree, the Justices also said that the lower court judge cannot control how the mayor staffs up the police department.
During oral arguments, Minneapolis’ attorney acknowledged that the city needs to hire more police officers, but also argued that Mayor Frey has discretion over hiring and training.
In a statement following the announcement from the justices, interim City Attorney Peter Ginder said:
“We are still reviewing the full impact of this order and will be prepared to appear in district court. Over the last two years, the Minneapolis Police Department has lost almost 300 peace officers. This is an unprecedented loss of personnel that is not easily corrected.”
“Mayor Jacob Frey, the Minneapolis Police Department, and City are working in good faith to recruit and hire more community oriented peace officers as quickly as reasonably possible. From additional funding for recruit classes and officer wellness programming to hiring bonuses, the City is continuing to work to rebuild the police force to full strength.”
Frey has pledged to hire more officers through additional recruiting classes. He has previously said that the city’s work is “challenging” because of a national shortage of people who want to become police officers.
The charter requires that the city council fund a police force based on a ratio of officers to city residents. That number is currently 731, based on the 2020 Census results. Records indicate that MPD has not had that many police officers on its force since April 2021.
Overtime limits are now in place within the Minneapolis Police Department, as overtime surges amid staffing shortages. https://t.co/6jSKuH1u58
— FOX 9 (@FOX9) June 15, 2022
The initial order from the district court ordered the city to have at least 731 sworn police officers by June 30th or show cause as to why it hasn’t reached that mark.
It is now unclear how much time the city will have before the court’s deadline, as the district court is expected to consider the latest evidence given all that has happened. It is also unclear what punishment, if any, the court will impose of the city doesn’t follow the order.
City records also indicate that as of early May, MPD sworn officers reached a low of 614, down from more than 900 in early 2020.
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First, it was “defund the police”, now Biden signs executive order that restricts actions by federal law enforcement
May 26th, 2022
WASHINGTON, DC — President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Wednesday that establishes new policing standards for federal law enforcement agencies.
However, the order does not affect state and local police departments, but encourages them to follow the new federal standards that focus on several restrictions for law enforcement officers.
The executive order instructs all federal law enforcement agencies to adopt policies banning chokeholds and carotid restraints and to limit the use of no-knock warrants to certain circumstances.
The executive order signed on Wednesday (May 25) launches a national registry of officers fired for misconduct and paves the way for state and local police departments to tighten restrictions on chokehold and no-knock warrants.https://t.co/kFhXesDJRm
— Black Information Network (@blackinfonet) May 26, 2022
The executive order also provides the public with more access to data and information on law enforcement officers and their agencies.
The White House released a “fact sheet” press release yesterday and noted:
“Today, President Biden will sign a historic executive order (EO) to advance effective, accountable policing and criminal justice practices that will build public trust and strengthen public safety.
“Police cannot fulfill their role to keep communities safe without public trust and confidence in law enforcement and the criminal justice system.
“Yet, there are places in America today where the bonds of trust are frayed or broken. To heal as a nation, we must acknowledge that fatal encounters with law enforcement have disproportionately involved Black and Brown people.”
The press release then outlined how Biden’s executive order will enhance public trust by promoting accountability, transparency and the principles of equality and dignity in policing and the larger criminal justice system.
For example, the press release noted:
“The EO orders all Federal LEAs to adopt policies that ban chokeholds and carotid restraints unless deadly force is authorized and restricts the use of no knock entries to a limited set of circumstances, such as when an announced entry would pose an imminent threat of physical violence.”
In addition, all federal law enforcement agencies must adopt body camera policies and provide the public with access to footage of incidents involving serious injuries and deaths of those under police custody:
“The EO orders all Federal LEAs to adopt and publicly post body-worn camera policies that mandate activation of cameras during activities like arrests and searches and provide for the expedited public release of footage following incidents involving serious bodily injury or deaths in custody.”
The order also directs the Attorney General to establish a “National Law Enforcement Accountability Database” to track police misconduct in order to promote accountability.
The White House noted that all federal law enforcement agencies must participate in the database system and that some data will be made accessible to the public:
“The database will include records of officer misconduct (including convictions, terminations, de-certifications, civil judgments, resignations and retirements while under investigation for serious misconduct, and sustained complaints or records of disciplinary actions for serious misconduct), as well as commendations and awards.
“The database will have due process protections for officers. All federal agencies must use the database in screening personnel, and it will be accessible to state and local LEAs, who are encouraged to enter their records as well.
“The Attorney General will make aggregate data, by law enforcement agency, public, and will assess what whether and in what form records from the database may be accessible to the public.”
The White House said the executive order also expands the Obama-Biden administration’s previous restrictions on the transfer of surplus military equipment to local and state police:
“The EO imposes sensible restrictions on the transfer or purchase with federal funds of military equipment that belongs on a battlefield, not on our streets.
“The list of prohibited equipment is broader than under the Obama-Biden Administration, and the EO’s mandate is broader than the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (GFJPA) in that it pertains to all relevant programs, not only the Defense Department’s 1033 program.
“The EO continues to ensure that state and local LEAs can access and use appropriate equipment for disaster-related emergencies; active shooter scenarios; hostage or search and rescue operations; and anti-terrorism efforts.”
The executive order also requires an updated approach to recruiting, hiring, promoting and retaining law enforcement personnel. In addition, evaluations and promotions would be connected to how well an officer adheres to policies:
“The EO requires Federal LEAs to develop best practices to attract, support, and retain an inclusive, diverse, expert, and accountable law enforcement workforce, including by implementing screening tools to ensure that agencies do not hire or retain, or partner with on task forces, individuals who promote unlawful violence, white supremacy, or other bias on the basis of protected characteristics.
“The working group also will identify ways to expand mentorship and leadership opportunities, and ensure that performance evaluations and promotions are tied to an officer’s adherence to these policies.”
The executive order will allow a study on biometric technology and assess how it is used by law enforcement:
“The EO directs the National Academy of Sciences to conduct and publish a study of facial recognition technology, other biometric technologies, and predictive algorithms that assesses any privacy, civil rights, civil liberties, accuracy, or disparate impact concerns with their use.
“This study will then be used to make any necessary changes to Federal law enforcement practices.”
Does it address this?https://t.co/BwBagwDbYn
— Lead and Gold (@leadandgold_cdh) May 26, 2022
In addition, “a working group” will submit a report on data collection and transparency to Biden:
“A working group will write a report to the President on how to collect and publish data on police practices (including calls for service, searches, stops, frisks, seizures, arrests, complaints, law enforcement demographics, and civil asset forfeiture), and on the practices and policies governing the acquisition and use of advanced surveillance and forensic technologies.”
— Jon Westergren (@WestergrenJon) May 26, 2022
During the bill signing ceremony, which occurred two years after the death of George Floyd, Biden commented:
“It’s a measure of what we can do together to heal the very soul of this nation to address profound fear and trauma exhaustion, particularly [what] black Americans have experienced for generations, and to channel a private pain and public outrage into a rare mark of progress for years to come.”
I know it’s significant passing this on the day George Floyd died, but was this police reform really just kind of waiting around to be passed just so you could get some PR points by passing it today?
— Big Honey 🍯 (@Takeswithfacts) May 25, 2022
Responding to criticism that the president took too long in signing the executive order on federal law enforcement reform, Biden defended his timing:
“Why haven’t I done this executive order earlier? If I’d done it, I was worried it would undercut the effort to get the law passed.”
Weird time to suddenly do something you could have done this entire time
— Lauren McKenzie (@TheMcKenziest) May 26, 2022
Vice President Kamala Harris noted the order was “long overdue”:
“We also know this executive order is no substitute for legislation, nor does it accomplish everything we know must be done, but it is a necessary and long overdue, critical step forward.”
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