The voters have spoken: Minneapolis must fund the police. Upper Midwest Law Center’s lawsuit against the Minneapolis City Council and Mayor Jacob Frey now takes center stage following last night’s defeat of the proposed defund-the-police Charter amendment. After the defeat of the amendment, the City Council and Mayor Jacob Frey must take immediate action to fund and employ the dwindling Minneapolis police force.
To date, there is no evidence that the City is even trying to comply with the Hennepin County District Court’s mandate that it bring its force strength up to the City Charter’s requirement. The City Charter requires at least 731 sworn officers per resident of Minneapolis, based on 2020 resident numbers from the U.S. Census. The Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis reported in October that the Minneapolis Police Department was down to 658 officers, well below the required minimum. The City projects to lose more officers than it gains this year.
Instead of funding and hiring more police, the City Council and Mayor Frey appear to be simply hoping that the Court of Appeals reverses the District Court’s mandate that they comply with the Charter. But as UMLC’s brief to the Court of Appeals last month shows, the Charter clearly requires the City to fund and employ a minimum number of officers in the MPD.
UMLC faces off with the City Attorney again in the Court of Appeals in a December 15, 2021 hearing before a three-judge panel. UMLC looks forward to affirmance of the District Court’s decision and the City’s swift compliance with the Charter.