Judge promises quick ruling on deadly force rule change

Published 5:44 pm Tuesday, August 31, 2021

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ST. PAUL — A judge has promised a ruling soon on whether to suspend Minnesota’s new stricter standard on when police can use deadly force.

The Legislature passed the change in 2020 after the death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police. It raised the bar on officers to justify in specific terms how their actions involving lethal force were necessary.

Ramsey County Judge Leonardo Castro heard arguments Monday over whether officers have had enough time to adapt to the requirements, which took effect March 1, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

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Several police groups are suing to get the law tossed out or at least suspended until more officers can be trained on the new expectations.

“We’re now asking officers to evaluate use-of-force incidents or critical incidents in a manner that is completely different than what they were trained to do prior to March 1 of this year,” said attorney Mark Schneider, who spoke on behalf of rank-and-file officers, police chiefs and sheriffs.

Attorneys for the state argued for outright dismissal, noting that there haven’t been any cases yet where the new standard has been an issue.

In promising a quick turnaround, Castro said he recognizes “the importance of this. The last thing I want to do is leave our law enforcement personnel in limbo as to how they need to move forward.”