Minnesota Court of Appeals Overturns District Court Decision Against Minneapolis Police Defunding and Enforcing MPD Staffing Requirement


Monday, March 14 2022  



Chris Mulcahey 

[email protected]  


Upper Midwest Law Center’s victory in Spann, et al. v. Minneapolis City Council is Overturned  

Golden Valley, MN – Today, the Minnesota Court of Appeals (COA) overturned the Hennepin County District Court’s 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, or more, as required in the city charter. The Court of Appeals notably described the Upper Midwest Law Center’s (UMLC) legal position as “logical,” and the concurrence described the Court’s own opinion as “illogical.” 

The Upper Midwest Law Center filed the original lawsuit on behalf of the petitioners,  eight Black and White residents of Minneapolis’ Jordan and Hawthorne neighborhoods on its embattled North Side which has borne the brunt of an inadequate number of uniformed police officers. 

The Minneapolis Charter requires the funding of a set number of active, sworn police officers based on the 2020 Census, but the COA said that the mayor’s duty under the Minneapolis City Charter to establish and maintain the police department is a discretionary duty that does not impose a duty on the mayor to continuously employ a minimum number of sworn police officers. 

“Today’s ruling is a giant setback for the safety and security of Minneapolis residents,” said Doug Seaton, Founder and President of UMLC. “This appeal sets a dangerous precedent that will reignite efforts to defund and dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department by the City Council. Upper Midwest Law Center will continue to fight on behalf of our clients, and all Minneapolis residents who reaffirmed the City Charter’s requirements last November, to restore peace and order.”

The Upper Midwest Law Center will immediately file an appeal of today’s decision to the Minnesota Supreme Court and seek expedited treatment to allow the Supreme Court to make a further decision before the end of June. 


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The Upper Midwest Law Center (UMLC) recently submitted a reply brief to the federal Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals (COA) as part of UMLC’s appeal seeking a reversal of the District Court’s decision to dismiss Joseph Norgren’s and Aaron Norgren’s lawsuits based on the department’s violations of their violating their First Amendment and federal employment rights. 

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