“Minnesotans are demanding real change,” said Governor Walz. “We stand united with House and Senate leaders and the People of Color and Indigenous Caucus, ready to get to work during the upcoming special session. I stand with the legislators who have coordinated a powerful set of reforms to make meaningful changes to our law enforcement system in Minnesota.”
“Every branch of government has a role in building systems that work for all Minnesotans, and I am excited to do this work in partnership with legislative leaders,” said Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan. “The problems we are facing are not new. Many of the solutions before us are not new. It is our role now to make sure these proposals are heard, acted on, and implemented to make meaningful change.”
Modeled on recommendations from the POCI Caucus and the Police-Involved Deadly Force Encounters Working Group chaired by Minnesota Attorney General (AG) Keith Ellison and Department of Public Safety (DPS) Commissioner John Harrington, the proposals support use of force reform, funding for alternatives to policing, and greater police oversight.
Police Accountability and Reform Legislative Priorities
Use of Force
Reform of the keystone statute that defines when law enforcement is justified in using deadly force to prioritize sanctity of life. This measure is a recommendation from the DPS/AG Working Group.
Alternatives to Policing
Creates new models of ensuring public safety by: 1) Creating a new office within DPS to administer grants to community-based violence-intervenors and problem solvers to intercept violence and reduce interactions with law enforcement, and 2) Providing funding for a co-responder form of policing that pairs officers with social worker when responding to crisis calls and welfare checks. This measure is a recommendation from the DPS/AG Working Group.
Police Oversight Reform
Creates a robust framework of accountability of the law enforcement profession through: 1) Expansion of the POST board and creation of a Police-Community Relations Council at the POST Board, 2) Reforming how arbitrations of the termination of law enforcement officers are handled, and 3) Requiring robust, real-time data collection and analysis of complaint, discipline and use of force data and use it to inform reforms at the POST Board, particularly as it relates to licensure decisions.
Ends the disenfranchisement of over 50,000 Minnesotans. Those who are not serving a sentence in a prison facility – who are in their communities and contributing to their families and rebuilding their lives – must be provided their right to vote, regardless of supervision status.
Creates a grant program to fund professional community healers trained to respond to systemic oppression-induced historic and present-day trauma through supportive services. This measure is a recommendation from the DPS/AG Working Group.
Independent Prosecution and Investigation Reform
Provides the AG with independent jurisdiction for the prosecution of police-involved deaths and create an independent investigation unit within Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for police-involved cases. This measure is a recommendation from the DPS/AG Working Group.
Expands training in de-escalation and mental health crisis intervention. This measure is a recommendation from the DPS/AG Working Group.
Warrior Training and Choke Holds Prohibited
Prohibits the use of all restraints or holds by law enforcement that purposely restrict a person’s airways or blood flow and ends the use of warrior-style training.
Special Session Convenes Tomorrow
Tomorrow, the Minnesota House and Minnesota Senate will be called into a special session at noon. Both chambers are expected to take a vote to address Governor Walz’s executive order to continue peacetime emergency powers. The DFL-controlled House is expected to vote to uphold this authority while the Republican-controlled Senate is expected to vote to over-turn it. Both chambers would need a majority vote in support of ending the emergency powers for such powers to cease.
The special session, which does not have an agreed-upon end date, is expected to address bonding, tax relief, small business relief, police accountability, criminal justice reform, and COVID-19 needs.
Amos A. Briggs | Government Relations
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