New challenge looms for Minneapolis ballot measure on police

·1 min read

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Lawyers for a former Minneapolis City Council member objected Wednesday to new language for a ballot measure on the future of policing in the city, saying it fails to comply with a court order that rejected the previous wording.

The proposed amendment to the city charter would replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a new Department of Public Safety that “could include” police officers “if necessary.” Details of how the change would be implemented would be determined later by the City Council and the mayor.

Hennepin County District Judge Jamie Anderson on Tuesday ruled that the old ballot language was "vague, ambiguous and incapable of implementation.” The City Council a few hours later approved new language that was meant to address the judge's concerns, just hours ahead of a deadline for ballots to go to the printer.

But attorneys for former council member Don Samuels and other petitioners said in a letter to the judge Wednesday that the new language suffers from the same deficiencies. They said it does not inform voters that there's still no plan for how the new department would be structured, overseen or funded, nor does it make clear if the city will continue to have police.

“The new ballot language is designed to evade the court's order and injunction, will mislead and confuse voters, and must not be included on the November 2, 2021, general election ballot,” the attorneys wrote.

They asked the judge to schedule an emergency hearing as soon as possible.

The proposal has its roots in the “defund the police” movement, which gained steam after last summer’s police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The Associated Press

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