Jun 29, 2021 - News

Activists disappointed over Minnesota's policing agreement

State Rep. John Thompson (DFL-St. Paul) stands in front of protesters waving signs at the Minnesota State Capitol.

State Rep. John Thompson (DFL-St. Paul) was not happy with the public safety agreement. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

State lawmakers reached a deal on a public safety bill over the weekend, but it's gotten a chilly reception from activists and the DFL People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus.

Driving the news: Legislators announced an agreement Saturday night that puts new regulations on no-knock warrants, requires 911 operators to dispatch mental health crisis teams to certain calls when available and helps build a database that tracks officer conduct.

  • It also gives pay increases for state law enforcement officers and makes tougher penalties for those who injure officers.

Yes, but: It doesn't include some of the police reforms requested by activists, like banning pretext traffic stops for minor violations and a requirement that when police kill a person, video footage is released to families within 48 hours.

What they're saying: Senate Republican Leader Paul Gazelka hailed the agreement, saying it avoided "anti-police measures."

  • "The recent increase in violent crime has all of us on edge, but this agreement keeps our promise," Gazelka said in a statement.

State Rep. John Thompson (DFL-St. Paul) asked Gov. Tim Walz to show some "testicular fortitude" on police reform.

  • "We don't need a press conference with you governor, we need a leader," he said.

Walz said the deal was "not enough," though he encouraged lawmakers to approve it. A budget deal is needed by July 1 to avoid a government shutdown.

Of note: Walz also announced some executive actions around police reform yesterday, including $15 million for community violence prevention grants and creating a policy that provides video footage to families of people killed by police within five days.

  • But that only applies to state agencies, not city and county law enforcement.

What's ahead: The House is set to vote on the agreement Tuesday.

  • While the POCI Caucus could sink the bill, Fox 9 reporter Theo Keith asked several POCI members to raise their hand if they would vote against it without some of their amendments, and none of them did.

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