Judge Issues Final Ruling On Minnesota ‘Use Of Deadly Force’ Law
St Paul (KROC AM News) - Minnesota law enforcement agencies are applauding a court decision seen as the final ruling in a controversial law passed by the state legislature in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd.
According to a press release from the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, Ramsey County District Court Judge Leonardo Castro Friday issued his final ruling on the state’s new “use of deadly force” law that was passed by the 2020 Minnesota State Legislature.
Judge Castro suspended the law in September while considering the lawsuit.
The law amended an earlier statute and added language requiring law enforcement officials to articulate with specificity the reason they used deadly force.
The MPPOA led a legal challenge of the change “to ensure peace officers have a sound, constitutional law that they can rely on for guidance in deadly force situations and the public has a strong statute that will hold officers accountable when warranted."
The MPPOA says law enforcement organizations had pushed the 2021 Minnesota State Legislature for a delay in implementation of the new statute, but those efforts failed. A delay would have given police chiefs and sheriffs additional time to train the more than 10,000 sworn peace officers in Minnesota.
The MPPOA said the lack of the new law’s clarity resulted in refusal by some police chiefs and sheriffs in neighboring states to provide assistance to other local law enforcement agencies in Minnesota. Some law enforcement agencies in North Dakota removed their officers from interstate task forces.
The MPPOA says Castro’s Friday ruling found this line in the modified statute was unconstitutional “can be articulated with specificity by the law enforcement officer” and ordered it removed.
Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association Executive Director Brian Peters said, “Today’s news means officers will not be compelled to forfeit their 5th Amendment Constitutional right to remain silent. Law enforcement is now on equal footings as all citizens in Minnesota.”
According to Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association Executive Director Jeff Potts, “Minnesota’s police chiefs are committed to training officers to the highest standards possible. Although we are very pleased with the court’s decision, we remain vigilant that our men and women in uniform continue to have laws made with their safety and security paramount to ensure our communities are safe.”
Minnesota Sheriffs’ Association Executive Director Bill Hutton said, “The judge’s ruling is a significant victory for law enforcement and public safety. It is so important that there is clarity in the law for communities and officers.”
Law Enforcement Labor Services Executive Director Jim Mortenson said, “This law was not only unconstitutional - but impractical in terms of training resources and a rushed timeline. The legislation was hastily passed and continues to present challenges to all law enforcement officers and the dangerous job they face every day.”
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