Judge rules in favor of Minneapolis group that sued for more police officers
A judge has ruled in favor of a conservative group of Minneapolis activists who filed a lawsuit against the city in an effort to bring in more police officers after calls for police reform gained traction following the death of George Floyd.
Hennepin County District Judge Jamie L. Anderson issued a Writ of Mandamus ordering Minneapolis to raise its number of police officers to at least 730 by the end of June 2022, or roughly 0.2 percent of the city’s population based on the results of the 2020 census once they are published.
The news comes as the city is projected to have 649 officers by the beginning of 2022, according to Anderson’s order.
The lawsuit was filed in August by the Upper Midwest Law Center, which works with conservative think tank Center for the American Experiment, on behalf of eight north Minneapolis residents.
The group in its complaint said “Minneapolis is in a crisis,” specifically citing an increase in shootings and homicides, as well as damages to the Third Police Precinct during the civil unrest following Floyd’s death.
Anderson wrote in the decision that the Minneapolis residents who filed the lawsuit were able to demonstrate that the city’s rising crime rate was caused by a lack of officers, resulting in personal injuries. One of the petitioners said they were diagnosed with PTSD after having their house shot at twice.
When reached for comment, a Minneapolis city spokesperson told The Hill that the city attorney’s office was reviewing the decision.
The decision comes after Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) on Monday announced an executive action aimed at implementing several policing reforms, including $15 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan toward community safety and violence intervention programs.
The changes also include altering Minnesota’s policy on viewing body camera footage to allow families of those killed by police to view the video within five days.
Walz said that he would also seek to increase transparency through the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training.
“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,” Walz said Monday.
Anderson’s order also comes just one week after former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison for the murder of Floyd, one of the longest punishments given to a police officer for unlawful use of deadly force.
Updated Friday at 8:36 a.m.