The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has failed to meet his legal duty to hire more police officers or to demonstrate why he hasn’t done so. This decision is a big win for a group of eight city residents who sued the mayor and the City Council over the huge spike in crime that followed the push to defund the police.
This ruling was issued on Monday by Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Monday that, at the end of May, the city had 621 officers on its payroll, “including 39 who were on a ‘continuous leave’ lasting two weeks or longer.”
The city charter requires a ratio of 1.7 officers per 1,000 residents of Minneapolis, according to Fox News. Based on the results of the 2020 census, that translates into a minimum of 731 officers. Since the death of George Floyd in May 2020 and the riots that immediately followed, over 300 officers have left the Minneapolis Police Department, Fox reported.
Although the City Council has allocated sufficient funds to support 770 sworn officers in the city’s budget — overfunding the force — the mayor has failed to hire enough police officers to meet the minimum threshold, according to Fox.
Apparently, he has tried, but the “defund the police” movement, which has demonized law enforcement officers throughout the country, has led to a steep decline in applicants nationwide.
The suit was filed by eight Minneapolis residents, according to Fox.
The plaintiff’s attorney, James Dickey, told KMSP-TV: “This is a huge victory for our clients and the residents of Minneapolis. MPD is under the required amount by at least 100 officers, and we look forward to seeing the evidence of what the mayor and City Council have done to change that.”
Minneapolis became ground zero for this movement when its City Council unanimously approved a proposal to replace the MPD with a “new Charter Department to provide for community safety and violence prevention” in June 2020.
The City Council advanced a proposed ballot measure today asking voters to create a new Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention. https://t.co/bsfjuY6SYY
— City of Minneapolis (@CityMinneapolis) June 26, 2020
An initial victory for the plaintiffs in Hennepin County District Court was later reversed by the Court of Appeals.
According to Fox, the Supreme Court’s ruling on Monday sends the case back to the district court. The mayor and city attorneys will be given the opportunity to provide evidence that they are actively trying to hire new police officers at a district court hearing next week.
Because the City Council has acted to provide the funding necessary to maintain a sufficient number of officers, the ruling removed the council as a defendant in the case.
In a statement, according to KSMP, interim City Attorney Peter Ginder said: “We are still reviewing the full impact of this order and will be prepared to appear in district court. Over the last two years, the Minneapolis Police Department has lost almost 300 peace officers.
“This is an unprecedented loss of personnel that is not easily corrected. Mayor Jacob Frey, the Minneapolis Police Department, and City are working in good faith to recruit and hire more community-oriented peace officers as quickly as reasonably possible. From additional funding for recruit classes and officer wellness programming to hiring bonuses, the City is continuing to work to rebuild the police force to full strength,” the statement said.
Far-left squad member Rep. Ilhan Omar, who represents Minnesota’s 5th congressional district, was one of the earliest and most enthusiastic advocates of the “defund the police” movement.
The Minneapolis Police Department has proven themselves beyond reform.
It’s time to disband them and reimagine public safety in Minneapolis.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) June 5, 2020
We can’t reform a system that is rotten, reimagining and reconstructing a new way forward is a better approach.
Thankful for Minneapolis city council for their leadership on this. https://t.co/Vm9cbRfgzn
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) June 5, 2020
Speaking to CNN’s Jake Tapper in June 2020 about her support for dismantling the MPD, Omar said, “[Y]ou can’t really reform a department that is rotten to the root.”
When the predictable surge in the city’s crime rate arrived, she blamed the police for that as well.
Ilhan Omar accuses police of not fulfilling their oath of office and blames them for the rise in violent crime in Minneapolis. pic.twitter.com/3LhuOuXEff
— Mike Berg (@MikeKBerg) October 25, 2021
Omar’s evident inconsistency is appalling — and dangerous. Omar and all the others who so eagerly embraced this insanity are responsible for the consequences.
As the rate of violent crime in U.S. cities hits record levels — the predictable result of the “defund the police” movement — politicians like Omar see a ban on so-called “assault weapons” as the answer – even if they can’t quite define what an “assault weapon” is.
The Minnesota Supreme Court justices clearly see a different solution — more police officers, as required by the city charter of Minneapolis. At long last, a government body has injected some much-needed sanity into the debate.
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