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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Samantha Vang (DFL)

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POCI Caucus Statement on Public Safety Accountability

Monday, June 28, 2021

St. Paul, Minnesota — Today, Monday June 28, the People of Color and Indigenous Caucus (POCI) introduced a number of amendments to the Public Safety and Judiciary budget bill. This is in response to the absence of several necessary accountability measures in the current bill language. The POCI Caucus is also calling on Governor Walz to use his executive authority to enact several reforms. The POCI Caucus released the following statement. 

 “Minneapolis, Minnesota is the recent epicenter of a racial justice reckoning happening across the United States. After the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Derek Chauvin, people from all backgrounds took to the streets demanding change. Unfortunately the changes sought by so many, that would help diminish the killing of BIPOC people at the hands of the police, did not emerge.

“During the regular session and through the special session, the POCI Caucus and members of the House DFL Public Safety Committee worked tirelessly to move meaningful police accountability policies in negotiations with the Senate Republican Majority who refused to hold bad actors accountable. The bill as posted does not include the significant changes to hold police accountable or to prevent future harm. 

“We will keep working through the legislative process to see meaningful police accountability measures that had previously been discussed on the House Floor like limiting pretextual stops, sign and release warrants, and rules around body camera footage added to the bill before its vote on Tuesday.

“The POCI Caucus is also urging Governor Walz to exercise his executive authority through the POST Board to enact changes to keep more Minnesotans from unnecessarily dying at the hands of police officers. As the leader of the state, we want him to be our partner in keeping Minnesotans safe, and through these actions that process can begin. 

“Black and brown people have not felt safe in Minnesota. This moment requires us to do something different to achieve justice for our community. We are asking our leaders to meet us in this challenge and intervene where they can enact stronger policies. We are not ‘One Minnesota’ until all of us feel safe and protected, particularly by those sworn to do so.”