Saturday, September 25, 2021

Court blocks Minnesota’s new use of force law. The old law is still there.

A Ramsey County judge on Monday blocked a new law that changed the standards for the use of force by peace officers.

Chief Justice Leonardo Castro of the Second Judicial District issued a temporary injunction until the settlement of a lawsuit filed in opposition to the state’s largest law enforcement groups. In the meantime the old law will be used.

State Sen. Warren Limar, R-Maple Grove, who chairs the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee, commended the stay.

“After hearing from law enforcement about their concerns with the new standards – which have been brought up repeatedly and rebuked by DFL leaders, I am grateful for the court’s wisdom in this decision today,” he said in a statement on Monday. Am.” “The new law also raised serious concerns from border cities and neighboring states, which put our communities at risk.”

Even though many Republicans, including Limar, expressed their unhappiness with the new law, their support for the law was necessary for it to pass the legislature, which is divided between the parties.

Limar voted for the final bill, part of a bipartisan agreement that arose from the July 2020 special session of the Legislature, which passed the Senate 60-7 and the House 102-29.

Democratic leaders who control the House could not be reached for comment on Monday evening.

Law, Title Min. state. 609.066, was born out of civil unrest following the death of George Floyd in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department. Former officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22½ years in prison for Floyd’s death. Three other officers are also facing charges. All four also face federal civil rights charges.

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The law, which took effect in March, took the burden off the use of deadly force for police, mandating, among other things, that an officer be able to “explain” the need for deadly force.

The law was challenged in July by the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association, the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association, the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association and the Law Enforcement Labor Services.

These groups say the law violates the rights of officers in self-defense and unconstitutionally forces officers to forfeit their rights to refuse to testify against themselves in cases of deadly force. Forcing a cop to say such a thing would be a violation of the officer’s constitutional rights under the Fifth Amendment, which protects everyone from self-incrimination.

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He also alleged that not enough officials have been trained on the new law – and that its constitutional uncertainty makes training impractical unless legal questions can be resolved.

The defendants, Gov. Tim Walz and the state of Minnesota, moved to block the trial, asking the court to dismiss it on the grounds that it must be argued by legislators, not the courts.

Judge Castro dismissed the defendant’s motion to dismiss and granted a temporary stay of the law pending a decision on the merits of the claim by law enforcement agencies. The law, as it was in existence before March 1, will remain in force till that time.

Court blocks Minnesota's new use of force law. The old law is still there.
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