Minnesota Supreme Court rules Minneapolis mayor failed to hire more police

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled that the mayor of Minneapolis has failed in his legal duty to hire more police officers or show why he hasn’t.

In a Monday ruling, Chief Justice Lorie Gildea said Mayor Jacob Frey had a “clear legal obligation” under the city charter to staff the department with at least 731 sworn officers, a number based on the people of Minneapolis.

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Acting City Attorney Peter Ginder said the city had about 300 fewer officers than before George Floyd was killed by police in May 2020. The city’s former police chief attributed retirements and to officers who had filed disability claims, some citing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder linked to the protests over Floyd’s killing.

Ginder calls it “an unprecedented loss of personnel that is not easily remedied,” but noted that the city has provided funding for additional recruit classes and hiring bonuses.

“Mayor Jacob Frey, the Minneapolis Police Department and the city are working in good faith to recruit and hire more community-focused peace officers as quickly as reasonably possible,” Ginder said.

The ruling remands the case to Hennepin County District Court.

Eight residents concerned about crime have sought the court order to force the city to hire more police, as required by the charter. Earlier this month, the state Supreme Court heard arguments from them that the current workforce is about 120 officers less than they thought was needed.

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Minneapolis attorneys argued that the charter requirement only relates to funding, but the mayor can still determine how the money can be used within the department.

The killing of Floyd, who was black, led to a consideration of police brutality and discrimination involving people of color.

Derek Chauvin, a white police officer who pinned Floyd’s neck to the pavement with his knee, was convicted of murder last year. Another former officer pleaded guilty in May to a state charge of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. Two other two former Minneapolis police officers are awaiting trial on charges against the state, scheduled for October.


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