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RELEASE: Rep. Novotny Statement Responding to Walz Comments on School Resource Officers

Thursday, August 17, 2023

St. Paul, MN—State Representative Paul Novotny, R-Elk River, issued the following statement reacting to comments Gov. Walz made yesterday in relation to concerns from the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association and other local law enforcement officials about a new law regulating the physical restraints that school resource officers can use.

According to a report from KSTP, Gov. Walz said:

“I certainly think we should all agree that we should not kneel on the necks of students unless someone’s life is at risk and that is written into the law to be able to do that.”

Rep. Novotny, the Republican-lead on the House Public Safety Committee, who served more than 30 years in law enforcement, said that those comments were insulting and show that Walz either has little understanding of the work law enforcement professionals do every day or is trying to be intentionally divisive.

“I am pleased that Gov. Walz and his administration will be reviewing this law and providing further clarification to law enforcement,” said Novotny. “However, the governor equating standard, widely accepted tactics employed by officers to ‘kneeling on the necks of students’ is insulting and shows that the governor is way out of his league when commenting on law enforcement practices. Comments like those about the George Floyd tragedy cast all law enforcement and School Resource Officers in a negative light. The governor should think about what he says the next time he comments on these issues instead of insulting thousands of Minnesotans who risk their lives daily to keep us safe.”