Samantha HoangLong reports:
With only two and a half weeks left in the Minnesota legislative session, lawmakers are pushing for police reform bills to be heard and passed in the Republican-majority state senate.
The DFL-controlled House passed a public safety bill last week. It includes expanding civilian oversight on police agencies, adding stricter rules for no-knock search warrants, and restricting traffic stops for expired tabs. But, the Senate has yet to hear any bills on police reform this session. Senate Minority Leader Susan Kent is urging her colleagues to move quickly:
“Right now we have a window of time, while the world is watching, to be the leaders that our communities of color need us to be,” said Kent. “We have over two weeks to pass meaningful public safety reform. We’ve seen how fast the senate can act when they choose to.”
Senate Republicans say the first public safety conference committee meeting is set for Monday. DFL Representative Carlos Mariani, chair of the Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Committee, says now is the time to act.
“The public wants police reform, and it wants police to be their partners. We can achieve both,” said Mariani. “But the Senate needs to act, because it’s never the wrong time to do the right thing.”
Meanwhile, federal prosecutors are asking a grand jury to indict the four former police officers involved in the murder of George Floyd on charges of civil rights violations.
This comes after Derek Chauvin was found guilty on three murder charges last week. The other three officers face aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter charges. Their trial is set to begin in August.
If the grand jury votes to indict, the former officers will face federal civil rights charges in addition to the state’s cases.
Photo Credit: Chioma Uwagwu