The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled that voters in Minneapolis will be able to decide whether to remove the police department in the November elections.
The new measure would remove the Minneapolis charter requirement to have a police department and the minimum level of staffing. The police department would be replaced with a Department of Public Safety.
The idea was proposed by Yes 4 Minneapolis and spokeswoman JaNaé Bates stated “We’re incredibly thrilled that the people of Minneapolis have their democracy honored”.
The Supreme Court recognized that we were on the right side of the law, we were on the right side of democracy, and we’re going to be [on] the right side of history as we move forward.JaNaé Bates
An attorney for the organization, Terrance W. Moore, said “A case with this many motions, and this many ups and downs usually takes 12 months. There’s little time in the course of this to feel exhilaration when we won or disappointment when we lost, because there was always more to do”.
A lower court had previously ruled to reject the ballot language because it did not sufficiently describe the measure’s effects. The state’s Supreme Court ruling overturned that of the lower court.
Hennepin County District Judge Jamie Anderson wrote “The court finds that the current ballot language is vague, ambiguous and incapable of implementation, and is insufficient to identify the amendment clearly”.
Don Samuels, a former council member, opposes the amendment and argues that it does not answer important questions. Joseph Anthony, Samuels’ lawyer, said that Yes 4 Minneapolis “could never get the language right because everything came back to defunding the police”.
Election day in Minneapolis is November 2, but early voting for the municipal elections has just opened.