Hennepin County District Court Judge Jamie Anderson issued an order on November 20 ruling that Minneapolis’ citizens have standing to sue the City over the decimation of its police force by the City Council and Mayor.
The Court found that the City Council and Mayor “have no authority to divert funds from the Minneapolis Police Department if they have not met their public duty to fund a police force of at least 0.0017 employees per resident.” The Court added that “misallocation of money that properly should fund a police force is an unlawful disbursement of funds.” The Court’s order allows the petitioners, eight residents of Minneapolis’ embattled North Side communities, to discover the police-force and budget numbers that that City has failed thus far to fully report.
The Court’s order rejected the City of Minneapolis’ attempt to have the residents’ lawsuit thrown out on standing grounds. The parties will now submit a discovery plan to the Court, and the Court will set an evidentiary hearing to take place in early 2021, where the parties will offer testimony and other evidence.
Cathy Spann, one of the petitioners who initiated this legal action, said: “The Court rightly rejected the City’s attempt to have our lawsuit dismissed because we haven’t taken bullets ourselves, as we have watched our neighborhoods become full of violence and stray bullets. We look forward to testifying in Court about the City’s failure to protect us, and we will get to the bottom of the actual numbers of police officers protecting the North Side and the City.”
The ruling came in response to a legal action filed by the Upper Midwest Law Center, asking the court to order the Mayor and City Council to comply with the City Charter by taking all necessary steps to hire, train, fund and deploy a minimum of 743 licensed peace officers.
Anthony Gockowski, writing for AlphaNews quoted Howard Root, chair of the Upper Midwest Law Center:
“Given that the City Council recently discussed bringing in police from other jurisdictions to help its worsening crime problem, we hope that they will start to work on solutions rather than continue to duck their responsibility to employ a fully-staffed police force.”
Doug Seaton, Esq., President of the Upper Midwest Law Center, added: “We applaud the Court’s decision to set this case on for an evidentiary hearing. We look forward to discovering the true number of employees on the Minneapolis police force, and we look forward to seeing the City uphold its legal obligation to fund and employ enough police officers to keep Minneapolis safe.”