At Issue: May 23 — Lawmakers shed light on police accountability talks

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As Minnesota nears the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death, lawmakers at the State Capitol are again considering changes to how police interact with the public. Now, with former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin convicted of murdering Floyd, and former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter facing manslaughter charges in the death of Daunte Wright, there is a growing effort to hold police accountable for their actions.

Measures to reform policing have been part of budget negotiations — and legislators have until June 30 to fund state programs and services. The two men tasked with leading policing negotiations as part of a larger public safety-financing package pulled back the curtain, slightly, allowing a peek into their talks.

“I’m actually very optimistic,” Rep. Carlos Mariani, DFL-St. Paul, said on “At Issue.” “I’m looking forward to negotiating with my counterpart Sen. [Warren] Limmer. We have several provisions on the table that are all common-sense approaches to this issue and I’m optimistic we’ll be able to work those out.”

“The Twin Cities is now experiencing a wave of violent crime throughout the Twin Cities and you see it in carjackings up, you see it in murders up, you see it in shootings up, you see it in little kids getting shot in neighborhoods that had nothing to do with the crime at all," Limmer, R-Maple Grove, said. "And yet we still hear the echoes of defund police throughout certain urban areas. Quite honestly, that’s gotta stop."

Last week, legislative leaders and the Governor’s Office were able to come to an agreement on overall budget numbers, some $52 billion in state funding for the next two years. But the plan was thin on details. Our political analysts explain what the deal means for police accountability and other topics, like the eviction moratorium as part of Gov. Tim Walz’s peacetime emergency powers.