With anger and sadness, I write to you after another senseless killing of a Black man at the hands of police. Daunte Wright should be alive. He was a son and a father. He loved basketball and his community in Brooklyn Center. Daunte’s life mattered.
We cannot normalize waking up to a growing list of community members killed by law enforcement officers.
Last summer, we passed a number of reforms to police accountability, including a prohibition on “warrior training,” a ban on chokeholds, and requiring the duty to intercede when officers observe one of their colleagues engaging in misconduct. This bill was a compromise and did not go far enough-- many critical reforms such as enhanced citizen oversight and strengthening the police officer misconduct database were left off the table.
Since then, we have had 18 hearings in the House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Committee, the committee where members craft police accountability legislation. Some of the proposals in this year’s omnibus Public Safety bill include a measure to allow local governments to establish civilian oversight councils to oversee law enforcement, a ban on altering, erasing, or destroying body camera recordings, prohibiting peace officers from affiliating with white supremacist groups, and funding community organizations working to prevent crime.
Other bills I’m hopeful to see advance include significant limitations on the use of “no-knock” warrants, a study on how Minnesota can move forward with requiring officers to carry liability insurance, and an “early warning” system for the POST Board to identify officers with concerning records. I am disappointed to see provisions to end qualified immunity were not included this year. Moving forward, I am committed to end this policy and support the leading voices in the House to enact urgent change in Minnesota.
However, none of these efforts will become law without Republican Senators willing to sit at the table, listen to our community, and commit to keeping everyone, without exception, safe. We need your help to enact a public safety policy that holds police officers accountable, increases transparency, and serves justice.
You can email Republican Majority Leader Paul Gazelka through the link below and demand effective policy to correct Minnesota’s law enforcement system.
The Public Safety omnibus bill should not be controversial or even partisan. These are measures aiming to protect the lives of Minnesotans, not a political debate.