Gov. Walz signs police accountability bill

Stillwater Police Chief Brian Mueller told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS law enforcement agencies in Minnesota share some of the same concerns as their counterparts in North Dakota and Wisconsin.

“They’re asking for specificity on what we see,” Mueller said. “And so no longer, it’s our understanding, no longer can it be that we feel there is a deadly threat. We have (to) be very specific. Our officers need to be very specific in terms of what that threat is, and these are incidents that are happening in milliseconds.” 

“They’re asking for specificity on what we see when deadly force is used,” Mueller said. “So, it’s our understanding that no longer can we feel there is a deadly threat, we have to be very specific. Our officers need to be very specific in terms of what (a) threat is, and these incidents that are happening sometimes in a split-second.”

Monroe and Mueller also said law enforcement agencies in Minnesota have not had enough time to properly train their officers on the new rules because they’ve been separated due to COVID-19 restrictions. They are seeking a delay in the effective date of the new law until Sept. 1.

State Representative Carlos Mariani, DFL-St. Paul, authored the bill that is now law.  He told KSTP law enforcement agencies agreed with the original language of the final bill and signed off on it, including the use of the language “specificity” when recounting why an officer used deadly force.

“They supported it very specifically to the circumstance of deadly force,” Mariani said. “I am not an attorney, but all it says is that officers need to be able to articulate a reason for why they used deadly force.”

And, Mariani agreed, law enforcement does need additional time to train officers to understand the new law because COVID-19 restrictions delayed the opportunity to provide such training.

“I do understand that and agree with what they are saying about additional time to train,” Mariani said.  “We need to make sure they’re trained for this, and that is going to take some time. And we want the officers to understand the changes and then own them.”

A bill to push the effective date of the new law to Sept. 1 has passed the Minnesota Senate and is now in the House of Representatives.