ST. PAUL, Minnesota (AP) – A judge has suspended Minnesota’s new, stricter standards on when police may use lethal force, ending a change in state law that followed the death of then-George Floyd that he was being held by Minneapolis Police.
The new standards, passed by the legislature in 2020, raised the bar for officers to justify in specific terms why their actions involving lethal force were necessary.
Several law enforcement lobby groups have filed a court challenge to have the law thrown out or at least suspended until more officers can be trained in the new expectations.
Ramsey County Judge Leonardo Castro ruled on Monday that changes to the law will be put on hold until the trial is completed and the use of force conditions will revert to those in place before the entry into force of the new law in March. Castro said pleadings would take place within 60 days, the Star Tribune reported.
“The implications for public policy are serious, and it is imperative that we get the right results,” Castro wrote in his order.
The 2020 law change no longer allows officers to justify lethal force by claiming that they used lethal force to protect themselves or another person from “apparent” death or grievous bodily harm. The new law now reads: “to protect the peace officer or another against death or grievous bodily harm”.
Castro refused to grant Gov. Tim Walz’s request to dismiss the case after the governor argued the plaintiffs lacked standing. The plaintiffs include the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association, the Minnesota Sheriffs’ Association, the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, and Law Enforcement Labor Services Inc.
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