The Minneapolis city charter requires the city to fund and employ a minimum number of police officers, yet the city resisted its legal obligation all the way to the Minnesota Supreme Court. Yesterday the Court ruled unanimously that the city’s resistance to its legal obligation lacked merit. I have embedded Chief Justice Gildea’s 9-page order at the bottom of this post.
Five of the Court’s seven justices, by the way, were appointed by Democratic governors (Dayton or Walz). Only Chief Justice Lorie Gildea and (my law school classmate and friend) Associate Justice G. Barry Anderson remain of the justices originally appointed to the Court by Governor Pawlenty.
The case was brought by eight residents of Minneapolis’s high-crime north side. They were represented by the Upper Midwest Law Center (John Hinderaker serves on the center’s board). When the Star Tribune gets around to opining on the ruling — the editorial board is otherwise occupied today — I seriously doubt that it will extend its thanks and congratulations to the UMLC. I would accordingly like to do so here. To Doug Seaton, James Dickey, and the rest of the crew at UMLC, thanks and congratulations.
The Supreme Court order represents a striking milestone in the descent of the city. It represents a disgrace. It should be a major civic embarrassment for city boosters, such as they are. Take the rag away from your face!
The Star Tribune has served as a substantial contributing factor all along the way down — not that we have reached the bottom. Far from it. While the city has lost 300 officers since the summer of George Floyd, the paper has piled on the police department at every opportunity.
Most recently, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights has charged the MPD with systemic racial discrimination over a 10-year period. The city can’t wait to sell out the police, but the MDHR has declined to show the city its evidence. That has held things up.
The Star Tribune quotes interim City Attorney Peter Ginder on the Supreme Court ruling. Ginder declared the city’s amazing shrinking police force since the summer of Floyd “an unprecedented loss of personnel that is not easily corrected.” It’s not just the numbers, man, it’s the lack of support. The Star Tribune reporter also paraphrased Ginder to the effect that “the city has provided funding for additional recruit classes, hiring bonuses and officer wellness programs.” Some things money can’t buy.
The rhetorical question that I have repeatedly asked since the summer of George Floyd is this one: Who in his right mind would choose to sign up for the Minneapolis Police Department? Minneapolis has elected the practical alternative to defunding the police.