Minneapolis voters weighed cutting staffing requirement in fall elections
The Minnesota Supreme Court held that the city of Minneapolis has a “clear legal duty” to hire more than 100 additional police officers under its charter. It’s the latest major development in a city that’s spent years debating about how to effectively manage its police force after the murder of George Floyd.
The decision, which came down on Monday, found that under the Minneapolis charter, the city must meet a mandated minimum staffing requirement for its police department, in addition to the city council fully funding such hires.
As of early May, the MPD had 614 officiers. The high court ruling would force the department to get staffing up to 731 officiers, based on per capita requirements for the Minneapolis population. The force hasn’t had that many officers since last April.
The case springs from a lawsuit from Minneapolis residents who sued the city. One of the plaintiffs, Don Samuels, is a local politico close to Mayor Jacob Frey, who is now running to unseat Democrat Ilhan Omar in Congress. He celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision.
“The courts have decided that we have been harmed, that we in fact have been impacted, that our lives are in danger. The judge heard that there are bullets coming through our homes, through our cars, and through our children,” Mr Samuels told CBS News.
The charter provision has long been controversial. En novembre, Minneapolis voters decided on whether to eliminate it, paving the way for a new public safety agency focused on non-violent interventions that would be under greater community control. Question 2, as it was known, was opposed by Mayor Jacob Frey, Mr Samuels, et d'autres, and was voted down decisively, avec 56 per cent of voters, many from the city’s richest neighbourhoods, opting to stick with the current police structure.
Opponents of the mandatory staffing provision argue most other cities don’t have to meet similar requirements, and say the mandate forces the city into a rigid relationship with police, who have a lengthy history of violence and misconduct against communities of colour in Minneapolis.
“That charter provision is inappropriate and unworkable,” former city council member Cameron Gordon said on Twitter on Monday in reaction to the ruling. “The Council and mayor can amend the charter by a unanimous vote. I hope they seriously consider it.”
The muder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police during the summer of 2020 has cast a long shadow over the charter conversation.
The MPD began 2020 avec environ 900 officiers, though numerous police resigned following the citywide protests and occasional riots that followed Floyd’s death.
Opponents of the mandatory staffing provision in the charter note that Minneapolis police weren’t solving a particularly high number of violent crimes even when they were fully staffed.
According to an investigation by the Minnesota Reformer, entre 2018 et 2020, presque 80 per cent of shooting investigations in Minneapolis didn’t result in any arrests or charges.
Violence in the city has only gotten more serious as the pandemic has worn on. Homicides have risen to their highest gross total since the mid-1990s, when the city was known as “Murderapolis,” though per capita crime rates are still below that peak because of population growth.
Though this year, homicides are declining compared to the same time last year, even as the number of MPD officers dwindles.
En janvier, a long-delayed city study concluded that the MPD on average spends less time on emergencies requiring an armed response by state law than on nonviolent, administrative functions, et cela most calls involve “no immediate threat of harm.” But such considerations haven’t made their way into the budget process yet. Pour 2022, the mayor succeeded in winning a $192 million police budget, nearly equaling the sum from before George Floyd was killed, without any major shifts toward non-violent responses.