Community organizers call police reform bill ‘disappointing’

George Floyd
Photo courtesy of CAIR Activists hold press conference in front of former 3rd Precinct

The Minnesota legislature passed a police reform bill early Tuesday morning, but some in the activist community say the package doesn’t go far enough. “This isn’t sweeping legislation,” Jess Sundin of Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar said in a statement. “It merely sweeps the problem of police violence under the rug.”

While noting a few “valuable” aspects of the legislation, like the inclusion of autism training and prohibition of fear-based training, otherwise known as “warrior training,” a coalition of community organizations have labeled the measure “anemic.”

“Not only was the legislation disappointing but it included harmful elements such as additional funding for the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to continue their practice of poor quality investigations that cover up police deadly force incidents,” said Michelle Gross, president of Communities United Against Police Brutality.

“The legislature, in typical fashion, will pretend they have done something about the problem but this cannot be a ‘one and done,’” added Jaylani Hussein, executive director of CAIR Minnesota. He continued, “We will be back at the full session next year with our slate of truly transformative legislation and we demand our bills be passed.”

Proposals put forward by a coalition of police accountability organizations included a requirement to release body camera footage to families of people killed by police within 48 hours, an end to the civil statute of limitations on wrongful death, strengthening civilian oversight, ending no-knock warrants, repealing MN Stat. 609.505 to end prosecutions of people who criticize police, and requiring police officers to carry professional liability insurance.

The coalition of organizations, including Communities United Against Police Brutality, Minnesota Disability Justice Network, Racial Justice Network, and others, have scheduled a press conference at 3 pm today at the Governor’s Mansion to further express their concerns and push for what they see as stronger legislation.