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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Michael Howard (DFL)

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Legislative Update - June 3, 2020

Wednesday, June 3, 2020




Rep. Howard

Dear Neighbors, 

George Floyd should be alive today. Our communities are in pain and they deserve justice. 

As I am sure you know by now, Derek Chauvin, the officer captured on video with his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck, has been fired from his position, arrested and charged with murder. Today, the three other officers complicit in the murder were charged as well. 

These charges are a necessary step toward justice, but it must only be the beginning. Yesterday, I stood behind DFL members of the POCI (People of Color and Indigenous) Caucus to announce additional measures for police and criminal justice reform, as well as our intention to make these issues a priority during a likely special session this month. You can watch the press conference, or read an overview of our proposals. These include more than a dozen measures designed to rebuild community trust while dismantling the structural racism that contributed to the murder of George Floyd: 

  • Move primary investigation and prosecution of officer-involved deaths to the Attorney General’s Office 
  • Modify use-of-force laws to prevent wrongful deaths
  • Collect and centralize for public access, real-time data on deadly-force encounters
  • Establish law enforcement-citizen oversight councils to provide needed community involvement in policing 
  • Change the laws governing agreements that impede discipline of officers seriously betraying the public trust 
  • Reform the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Board to increase oversight of officer licensure and training 
  • Create a legal duty for officers to intervene in the wrongful use of force by fellow officers
  • Expand training in de-escalation, mental health crisis intervention, and responding to people with disabilities 
  • Prohibit use of “Bullet-Proof Warrior” style use of force training
  • Create powerful incentives for officers to live in the communities they serve by lifting the state ban on local-residence requirements 
  • Provide new resources to increase diversity in police forces 
  • Provide state funding for programs for community-based intervenors and problem-solvers that can partner with local peace officers. 
  • Increase investment in community-based mental health and trauma-informed services  
  • Direct POST board to develop model policy on use of force in responding to peaceful protests 

As a member of the Public Safety Committee and Criminal Justice Reform Committee, I am working directly on these reforms to bring accountability, transparency and a paramount emphasis on the sanctity of all life to policing in Minnesota. 

All of our efforts must be guided by the need for racial equity and an end to the unacceptable culture that is responsible for the death of George Floyd and other black and brown Minnesotans. Change must come at every level of government and the state has a duty to take action.

I want to thank everyone in our community who has sent me e-mails and calls over the last week, and to all of those who are raising their voice and stepping up for your neighbors and communities in need. The collective actions of many are moving us powerfully toward justice.

In partnership,

Michael Howard