Politics Minnesota Supreme Court allows ballot question on Minneapolis Police
Judge rejects Minneapolis ballot language on policing
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A judge struck down ballot language Tuesday that aimed to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a new agency, saying the wording was misleading and unworkable. “The court finds that the current ballot language is vague, ambiguous and incapable of implementation, and is insufficient to identify the amendment clearly," Hennepin County District Judge Jamie Anderson wrote. "It is unreasonable and misleading.” Anderson“The court finds that the current ballot language is vague, ambiguous and incapable of implementation, and is insufficient to identify the amendment clearly," Hennepin County District Judge Jamie Anderson wrote. "It is unreasonable and misleading.
The Minnesota Supreme Court is allowing a ballot question that gives voters the opportunity to decide the future of Minneapolis's policing to stay in place, ending a legal fight over the language in the measure.
, if passed, would get rid of a Minneapolis charter requirement to have a police department that has a minimum level of staffing, to the Star Tribune. It would instead have Minneapolis replace it with a public safety department "that employs a comprehensive public health approach," with those functions to be decided by the mayor and City Council later.
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A lower court had previously ruled that the ballot question did not sufficiently describe the proposed measure's effects and rejected the language, The Associated Press .
However, that decision was overturned by the Minneapolis Supreme Court, with Chief Justice Lorie Gildea saying in the court's order that the "high standard" had not been met by the legal challenge against the language of the ballot measure.
Gildea also noted the timing of the decision, which comes as early voting in the city begins on Friday, adding that a full opinion would be issued later.
The vote comes more than a year after the murder of George Floyd, a Black man who died at the hands of a white now-former Minneapolis police officer. Footage of Floyd's killing circulated on social media quickly, reigniting national discussions over racial justice and equity in the country.
It also prompted cities to reconsider the role of policing in their localities, including with Yes 4 Minneapolis, which headed the ballot effort.
"We're all very pleased that the system worked," said Terrance Moore, an attorney for the group, according to the AP. "As ugly as it sometimes looks, the process went through from beginning to end and in the end the Supreme Court followed the law and its precedent. And the voters get to vote on the ballot question."
Minneapolis residents to vote on disbanding police force .
Activists have adopted public health tactics in an effort to disband the Minneapolis police department. The vote would be on whether to change the city charter and implement a department of public safety instead, which activists say would take on a public-health approach to policing -- opting for social workers and violence interrupters over the police-only model that the city has now. Advocates have said that many cases in which police are called can often be resolved by others. Detractors say the move will undermine public safety.