On Monday, a Ramsey County judge blocked a new law that changed the standards for the use of force by peace officials in Minnesota.
The Chief Justice of the Second Judicial District, Leonardo Castro, issued a temporary suspension order until the protest lawsuit filed by the state’s largest law enforcement group is resolved. The old law will be used during this period.
State Senators Warren Limmer and R-Maple Grove, chairman of the Senate Judicial and Public Safety Committee, praised this stay.
He said in a statement on Monday: “After listening to law enforcement agencies about their concerns about the new standards-these issues have been repeatedly raised and rejected by DFL leaders, I am grateful for the wisdom of the court in making this decision today.” The new law has also attracted serious attention from border cities and neighboring countries, which puts our communities at risk.”
Although many Republicans, including Limmer, are uncomfortable with the new law, their support is essential for the legislature to pass the law, which is divided into two major parties.
Limmer voted for the final bill, which is part of a bipartisan compromise resulting from a special session of the legislature in July 2020, which passed the Senate at 60-7 and 102-29.
The Democratic leader who controls the House of Representatives could not be reached for comment on Monday night.
The law is called the Minnesota State Bureau of Statistics. 609.066 was caused by the civil strife that followed George Floyd’s death while in custody at the Minneapolis Police Department. Former police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison for the murder of Freud. Three other police officers were also charged. The four also face federal civil rights charges.
The law came into effect in March, increasing the burden on the police to use lethal force and, among other things, stipulates that police officers must be able to “clarify” the need for lethal force.
The law was challenged in July by the Minnesota State Police Chiefs Association, Minnesota State Sheriffs Association, Minnesota State Police and Peace Officials Association, and the Department of Law Enforcement Labor Services.
These groups stated that the law violated police officers’ right to self-defense and unconstitutionally forced police officers to give up their right to refuse to testify for themselves in deadly force cases. Forcing the police to say such things would violate the constitutional rights granted to the police by the Fifth Amendment, which protects everyone from self-incrimination.
They also claim that not enough officials have received training on the new law — and the uncertainty of its constitution makes training impractical until legal issues are resolved.
“The police organizations in Minnesota are committed to upholding the law and serving the communities they vowed to protect,” said Bill Hutton, executive director of the Minnesota Sheriffs Association. “However, in order to do this, all Minnesota people, including community members and police, need to be clear in the law.”
The lack of clarity in the new law has caused some police chiefs and sheriffs in neighboring states to refuse to assist other local law enforcement agencies in Minnesota. For example, according to the Minnesota Police Chiefs Association, some law enforcement agencies in North Dakota have removed their officers from the Interstate Task Force.
The defendants, Governor Tim Walz and Minnesota, took action to stop the lawsuit and asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that it should be debated by the legislator, not the court.
Judge Castro dismissed the defendant’s motion to dismiss and granted the law to be suspended temporarily, pending a decision on the merits of the law enforcement agency’s claim. The law existed before March 1, and will remain in effect until then.