Battle to Replace Minneapolis Police Department Heats Up With Ballot Explainer Lawsuit

Minneapolis Police officer with dog and children

 

The battle over a November ballot measure to replace the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) is now subject to a lawsuit, as anti-police activists cry foul.

“The Yes 4 Minneapolis campaign filed a lawsuit against the city and the city clerk’s office,” Fox 9 reported. “The group accuses the city of ‘attempting to mislead voters’ about a proposed amendment that would replace the MPD with a department of public safety.”

The lawsuit stems from an explanatory note added to the ballot question, which was put into place by the Minneapolis City Council in July.

Star News Education Foundation Journalism ProjectThe ballot question asks the city’s residents the following:

Shall the Minneapolis City Charter be amended to strike and replace the Police Department with a Department of Public Safety that employs a comprehensive public health approach, and which would include licensed peace officers (police officers) if necessary, to fulfill its responsibilities for public safety, with the general nature of the amendments being briefly indicated in the explanatory note below, which is made a part of this ballot?

Along with the question, the city is pushing for the following explanatory note to be included on the ballot:

This amendment would create a new Department of Public Safety, which would:

1. Combine public safety functions of the City of Minneapolis into a comprehensive public health approach to safety, with the specific public safety functions to be determined.

2. Include licensed peace officers (police officers) if necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of the Department of Public Safety.

3. Be led by a Commissioner of Public Safety. The appointment process for the Commissioner would include a Mayor nomination and a City Council appointment. The Mayor would not have complete power over the establishment, maintenance, and command of the Department of Public Safety.

This amendment would also do the following:

1. Remove from the Charter a Police Department, which includes the removal of its Police Chief, and the removal of the Mayor’s complete power over the establishment, maintenance, and command of the Police Department.

2. Remove the City Council requirement to fund a police force of at least 1.7 employees per 1,000 residents.

3. Remove City Council authorization to impose additional taxation on taxable property in the City of Minneapolis of up to 0.3 percent of its value annually to fund the compensation of employees of the police force.

A lawyer for Yes 4 Minneapolis, the group behind the ballot measure and the lawsuit to drop the explanatory note which was founded after the death of George Floyd at the hands of ex-Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin, reportedly said that explanatory note is “fertile ground” for partisanship.

The city sees it differently, saying that the explanatory note is simply informative and factual.

“I hear a lot of allegations of bias,” Assistant City Attorney Sarah McLaren reportedly said. “Those are just the facts.”

Hennepin County Judge Jamie Anderson heard arguments in the case Monday, and is expected to make a ruling “as soon as possible.”

The movement to reform the police, which has often seen Left-wing activists and politicians call for the police to be defunded, has exploded over the past year, following Floyd’s death and the subsequent high-profile trial of Chauvin.

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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Minnesota Sun and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Police in the community” by Minneapolis Police Department.

 

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