Several large law enforcement coalitions are suing the state after changes were made to Minnesota’s deadly force laws. The organizations based the lawsuit on the idea that the changes “violates officers’ rights to self-defense and unconstitutionally compels officers to forfeit their rights to refuse to testify against themselves in deadly force cases.”
According to Minnesota Public Radio, the lawsuit was filed in Ramsey County by the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association, the Minnesota Sheriffs’ Association, the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, and Law Enforcement Labor Services. The laws surrounding deadly force were revised after the death of George Floyd last May. The revisions changed the type of situations where law enforcement officers could be justified in using deadly force. According to the changed law, deadly force can only be used only when necessary to prevent “great harm or death” to an officer or a bystander.
Brian Peters, the executive director of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, said that, “The process that led to last year’s law change was rushed under unprecedented circumstances.” In a statement, Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association Executive Director Jeff Potts said that, “The use of deadly force is one of the most critical aspects of a police officer’s duties. Minnesota’s police chiefs are committed to training officers to the highest standards possible. The law must be constitutional in order to ensure a transparent process and a just outcome for everyone involved in these types of cases.” According to Minnesota Public Radio, there are “departments in bordering states to stop assisting in critical incidents in Minnesota.”
Those who support the law say that it is necessary because officers resort to using deadly force too often and the law is necessary to save lives. They also say that the original language of the law made it difficult to prosecute law enforcement involved in deadly force incidents.
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Hayley Tschetter is a reporter with The Minnesota Sun and The Star News Network. She graduated with a degree in Communications from the University of Northwestern-St. Paul. Send news tips to [email protected]