The Minnesota chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statement after the Minnesota House of Representatives voted to advance SF 970, an omnibus public safety bill which, as amended by the House, would promote police accountability and help prevent police violence. The advancement of this legislation comes just one day after a guilty verdict was announced in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis Police Officer who killed George Floyd.
The Minnesota Senate advanced their version of the public safety omnibus last week, but notably left out any measures that would address police violence or police accountability. Additionally, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced today that the Justice Department will conduct a broad investigation of the Minneapolis Police Department to examine any abuses and potential patterns of violating the civil rights of Minneapolis residents.
“While the verdict yesterday was a step in the right direction, it doesn’t change the fact that George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Philando Castile, and so many other Black people who have died at the hands of police should be alive today,” said Molly Leutz, a volunteer leader with the Minnesota chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We are grateful to the House for acknowledging the need for fundamental changes to our system, and fighting to increase transparency and accountability within our police departments. This has been a matter of life and death for too many Minnesotans for too long. The Senate must take their heads out of the sand and do their part to answer the demands for much-needed change to policing in our state.”
See some of the important provisions included in this bill below:
- Clarifies that local governments can establish civilian oversight councils and gives them the power to investigate and recommend disciplinary action against law enforcement officers.
- Strengthens the rules for body cameras, including preventing the deletion of footage or withholding footage from next of kin or legal representatives.
- Prohibits police officers from having white supremicist or other extremist affiliations.
- Creates and funds an Innovation in Community Safety Grant Program to support anti-violence initiatives.
- Expands law enforcement reporting and training requirements for bias-motivated crimes.
- Strengthens crisis-intervention training requirements for law enforcement responses to calls involving individuals with dementia.
- Strengthens the rules for the database on police misconduct incidents to help ensure transparency.
- Expands Minnesota’s violent hate crime law to cover crimes committed against a person because of their ethnicity, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, or national origin which will help ensure people convicted of hate crimes cannot access firearms.
- Establishes standard rules reporting failures to intervene in unnecessary uses of force.
Black Americans are shot and killed by police at nearly three times the rate of white Americans, and data from Mapping Police Violence shows that most people killed by police are killed with guns. In an average year, police fatally shoot 11 people in Minnesota.
More information about police violence is available here. Additional information on gun violence in Minnesota is available here, and Everytown’s Gun Law Navigator — which shows how Minnesota’s gun laws compare to those of other states — is available here.