The shooting and death of Dante Wright by a Brooklyn Center police officer has led to another heartwrenching chapter for Minnesota and the nation. We have heard and felt the anguish of a mother who lost a son. Across race, and across our whole state, Minnesotans are grieving the loss of another young black man who had so much life ahead of him. Minnesotans are also raising their voices together, determined to create a state that is safe for everyone. No matter what we look like or where we’re from, everyone deserves to feel safe and free in their community.
In the House DFL, we have placed a priority on racial equity across state government, including in public safety. Democrats on the House Public Safety Committee have been committed to critical public safety reforms, holding eleven hearings on key policy changes while Senate Republicans have held none. We need Senate Republicans to join us in holding hearings on the following reforms.
House DFL proposals include:
Limiting traffic stops — limits the suspected offenses for which police can stop motorists. It would prevent a driver from being stopped for expired tabs, an air freshener hanging in the window, and other low level offenses. This is a direct response to the traffic stop that escalated into the shooting of Daunte Wright.
Establishing civilian police oversight councils — allows local units of government to establish citizen oversight councils for law enforcement, ensuring that community members can both hold law enforcement accountable and have their voices heard in discussions of public safety.
Improving officer accountability — strengthens the police officer misconduct database to build a more effective early warning intervention system. The result will keep officers with a history of misconduct off the streets.
White supremacy ban — prohibits law enforcement from affiliating with white supremacist groups, making it more difficult for those groups to infiltrate law enforcement.
Emphasizing de-escalation — directs 911 operators to refer calls involving mental health crises to mental health crisis teams, where those teams are available.
Restricting no-knock warrants — restricts the use of no-knock warrants by law enforcement, requiring a warrant to have more detailed information about why the method is necessary.
Protecting the First Amendment — requires the POST board to develop and distribute a comprehensive model policy on responding to public assemblies.
Prohibiting the altering of body cam video — strengthens body worn camera policies to prohibit altering, erasing, or destroying recordings. It also prevents withholding body camera recordings of incidents involving the use of deadly force from the victim’s family.
Daute Wright, George Floyd, Philando Castille, Jamar Clark and more, should still be alive today. Minnesotans are demanding that we act, and the world is watching to see how Minnesota will respond. We must enact these reforms that help us create the public safety we need in every community across the state. These policies will help rebuild trust and move us towards a Minnesota that is safe and secure for everyone.