By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The debate continues about new police reforms passed in Minnesota.

The new measures are less ambitious than many Democrats and activists had hoped. Those backing police reforms say in light of recent police shootings what was passed is not nearly enough.

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The biggest uncertainty surrounds a lawsuit which challenges the 2020 Minnesota Legislature’s changes to Minnesota’s deadly force statute.

The lawsuit says it is now unclear what justifies the use of deadly force, and the law could be interpreted as officers being required to make statements after an incident. Criminal defense attorney Joe Tamburino agrees any requirement to speak would be unconstitutional.

“It says that a police officer involved in a use of force investigation must articulate with specificity why he or she used force. You can’t do that,” he said.

The legislature did enact a higher standard for no knock warrants that does not take effect until September.

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Some measures become effective immediately. Those include stronger safety and health measures for jails, mental health staff would respond to some 911 calls and offenders would get tickets, not jail, for minor outstanding warrants.

What did not pass were limits on traffic stops, quick release of bodycam videos and longer statute of limitations in civil wrongful death suits. Police reform advocates predict another crisis.

“Sadly to say the clock is up on somebody else right now because we failed to do anything to actually hold police officers accountable,” Mohamed Ibrahim of CAIR-MN said.

Those measures that did not pass are sure to be introduced in the 2022 legislative session. It is highly unlikely with a divided legislature that they will pass. Later in 2022 voters get to weigh in as all 201 members are up for reelection.

Police groups did have input into the wording of the deadly force measure passed in 2020.

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WCCO reached out to one of the groups filing the suit. They are not commenting.

Esme Murphy