Hennepin County District Judge Jamie Anderson on Tuesday struck down proposed ballot language that would have asked voters whether Minneapolis should replace its police force with a vaguely defined public safety department and eliminate the city’s minimum for its required number of officers.
The language “is unreasonable and misleading,” she wrote in the order striking it down.
“The court finds that the current ballot language is vague, ambiguous and incapable of implementation, and is insufficient to identify the amendment clearly,” she continued.
The “defund the police” push emerged in earnest following the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 in Minneapolis police custody.
The city erupted in protests – some of which devolved into violent riots. City council slashed its police budget and let officer levels fall below the mandatory minimum, prompting a group of residents to sue. A judge ruled in their favor, ordering the city to hire more cops. Then the council crafted a ballot measure that would get around the staffing requirement.
The measure, if passed, would have also given city council control over the new public safety department, which “could include” police officers, as early as Dec. 2.
Democratic Mayor Jacob Frey, who is currently in charge of the city’s police department, opposed the initiative and had vetoed it – only to be later overruled by the council. Other critics of the proposal include Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Gov. Tim Walz, both Democrats.