Minnesota Legislature opens debate on police accountability | KSTP.com

Minnesota Legislature opens debate on police accountability

Updated: June 29, 2021 07:04 PM
Created: June 29, 2021 10:05 AM

Time is running out for state lawmakers to pass new police reforms.

The Minnesota House on Tuesday began a debate on police accountability as part of a broader public safety budget bill that must be enacted by late Wednesday to avoid a partial state government shutdown.

The debate comes on the heels of Friday’s sentencing of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd.

It wasn’t clear ahead of the debate whether leaders of the slim House Democratic majority had enough votes to pass the package.

Some Democratic lawmakers and progressive activists say the bill is too much of a compromise with Senate Republicans, who resisted stronger measures.

The legislation doesn't require police to release body camera footage to families within two days of a deadly force incident—something Democrats were pushing for. However, Gov. Tim Walz did step in this week, taking executive action to allow families to see body-cam video within five days of the incident. 

Walz is also allocating $15 million for community violence prevention.

"Just to be clear this is not a choice between being pro-police, anti-police, pro-safety, anti-safety—these are about making sure that people are respected and protected in their own communities and that the resources and the policies are there to make a difference," Walz said. 

As discussions continue on the bill, the state has heard from activist groups who say the bill falls short, some even call it a joke.

However, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said, "it was a compromise. You don't get everything you want and this was probably the most difficult public safety bill that I think Sen. Limmer has ever had to navigate through." 

Both chambers have until Thursday morning to pass it.

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