Walz & MN legislative leaders announce police reform priorities

Jeff Hayden
State Sen. Jeff Hayden (DFL) Minneapolis

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announces police reform priorities he would like to see in the legislature’s special session that begins Friday June 12th.

They’re modeled on recommendations from the Minnesota People of Color and Indigenous Caucus and the Police Involved Deadly Force Encounters Working Group.

They include reforming a statute defining when police are justified in using deadly force to prioritize what they call the sanctity of life.

The groups want to give the Attorney General jurisdiction for prosecuting police involved deaths and create an independent investigation unit in the BCA for those cases.

“We cannot ignore the voices around the state, the country and the world calling for change and the protection of black lives. Now is the time to lead by example and to act and to advance actual change,” DFL State Sen. Jeff Hayden of Minneapolis said.

The plan would also allow felons not serving time in prison the ability to vote.

House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt says Democrats are ignoring a Republican bill he says would help police departments get rid of bad officers.

“Democrats added felon voting to the agenda for Saturday’s eight hour hearing, but have so far ignored Rep. Pat Garofalo’s bill that would help Police Departments get rid of bad cops. If Democrats are serious about working on real reforms, they need to put every option on the table — even ones that might make their union campaign contributors uncomfortable.”

You can read the full plan put forth by the governor and watch the press conference below.

Use of Force
Reform of the keystone statute that defines when law enforcement is justified in using deadly force to prioritize sanctity of life. This measure is a recommendation from the DPS/AG Working Group.

 Alternatives to Policing
Creates new models of ensuring public safety by: 1) Creating a new office within DPS to administer grants to community-based violence-intervenors and problem solvers to intercept violence and reduce interactions with law enforcement, and 2) Providing funding for a co-responder form of policing that pairs officers with social worker when responding to crisis calls and welfare checks. This measure is a recommendation from the DPS/AG Working Group.

Police Oversight Reform
Creates a robust framework of accountability of the law enforcement profession through: 1) Expansion of the POST board and creation of a Police-Community Relations Council at the POST Board, 2) Reforming how arbitrations of the termination of law enforcement officers are handled, and 3) Requiring robust, real-time data collection and analysis of complaint, discipline and use of force data and use it to inform reforms at the POST Board, particularly as it relates to licensure decisions.

Voting Restoration
Ends the disenfranchisement of over 50,000 Minnesotans. Those who are not serving a sentence in a prison facility – who are in their communities and contributing to their families and rebuilding their lives – must be provided their right to vote, regardless of supervision status.

Community Healing
Creates a grant program to fund professional community healers trained to respond to systemic oppression-induced historic and present-day trauma through supportive services. This measure is a recommendation from the DPS/AG Working Group.

 Independent Prosecution and Investigation Reform
Provides the AG with independent jurisdiction for the prosecution of police-involved deaths and create an independent investigation unit within Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for police-involved cases. This measure is a recommendation from the DPS/AG Working Group.

Training Expansion
Expands training in de-escalation and mental health crisis intervention. This measure is a recommendation from the DPS/AG Working Group.

Warrior Training and Choke Holds Prohibited
Prohibits the use of all restraints or holds by law enforcement that purposely restrict a person’s airways or blood flow and ends the use of warrior-style training.

Categories: Minnesota News, Politics / Elections