MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota’s largest law enforcement organizations filed a lawsuit against Gov. Tim Walz and the state on Friday, alleging that the changes made during the 2020 legislative session around the use of deadly force by law enforcement officers are unconstitutional.

The group is made up of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association, the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association, and Law Enforcement Labor Services.

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Last summer, the legislature adjusted the wording in the Minnesota statute describing the appropriate use of deadly force to include that the officer must be able to specifically articulate the threat of death or great bodily harm. The threat must also be likely to occur unless an officer takes action.

It was part of the Police Accountability Act of 2020, which included a ban on chokeholds, arbitration reform, requiring a duty to intervene, as well as autism and mental health training.

But the groups called the move “rushed” and “under unprecedented circumstances.”

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The lawsuit argues that a person cannot be compelled to testify against themselves in a criminal proceeding; thus the amended statute goes against an officer’s fifth amendment right.

“The use of deadly force is one of the most critical aspects of a police officer’s duties. Minnesota’s police chiefs are committed to training officers to the highest standards possible. The law must be constitutional in order to ensure a transparent process and a just outcome for everyone involved in these types of cases,” said Minnesota Chiefs Of Police Association Executive Director Jeff Potts.

The officers say the “lack of the new law’s clarity” has resulted in the refusal of law enforcement agencies in neighboring states — specifically North Dakota — to provide assistance to Minnesota agencies.

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