Minnesota Supreme Court grants review of police defunding decision

The Minnesota Supreme Court granted the Upper Midwest Law Center’s (UMLC) petition for review of the Minnesota Court of Appeals decision that held that the Minneapolis Mayor has no duty to employ a single police officer, despite the Charter’s police-to-population ratio requirement. The order also granted UMLC’s motion to expedite the appeal so that a hearing will take place in the Supreme Court on June 9, 2022.

The appeal proceeds on behalf of eight Minneapolis North Side residents still suffering from rampant crime caused by a lack of police protection. The North Side residents will proceed as the Appellants as they seek reinstatement of the Hennepin County District Court’s July 1, 2021 decision ordering Minneapolis to immediately take any and all necessary action to ensure that they fund and employ a police force of at least 731 sworn officers, as required by the city charter, no later than June 30, 2022.

The appeal argues that the Mayor cannot “dismantle” the police and create a “ghost force” if funding is required to be provided for them. The COA agreed that the City Council has to fund at least 731 officers, but somehow held that the Mayor has no obligation to use that money to staff the police force. UMLC and the North Side residents argue that this makes no sense—the Charter requires the Mayor to “maintain” a police force, the lack of officers on the force is crippling the City, and Mayor Frey testified under oath that he needs more money to hire more officers.

“The Supreme Court made the right decision to take this case, which is so important to the safety of the people of Minneapolis,” said James Dickey, Senior Trial Counsel for the Upper Midwest Law Center. “We look forward to bringing our strong arguments to the Supreme Court and obtaining reinstatement of the order for Minneapolis to restore the police force and comply with the City Charter.”

The Court’s order requires the Appellants to file their first brief by May 3, 2022, the Mayor and City Council must respond by May 17, and the Appellants may file a reply brief by May 24. The Court also granted the Police Officers’ Federation of Minneapolis’ request to file a “friend of the court” brief in support of UMLC and the North Side residents, which is due by May 10, 2022. The hearing before the Supreme Court will take place on June 9, at a time and location to be determined by the Court.

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