Minneapolis Must Hire More Cops by Next Year, Judge Rules as City Battles Crime Wave

Minneapolis must hire more police officers by next year, according to a recent ruling by a Hennepin County judge, as the city faces an increase in crime.

Eight plaintiffs wrote in a complaint to the city that "Minneapolis is in a crisis," citing the rise in crime following the recent George Floyd protests.

In response to the complaint, Hennepin County District Judge Jamie Anderson said in the order that Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and the city council must "immediately take any and all necessary action to ensure that they fund a police force."

According to the order, the city must fund a police force of at least .0017 employees per resident, which will equal around 730 sworn officers, or .2 percent of the city's population following the publication of the 2020 census. The hiring of more police officers must be completed by June 30, 2022.

The complaint was filed by several Minneapolis residents and they are represented by the Upper Midwest Law Center, a non-profit, public interest law firm.

In a press release following the judge's order, the Upper Midwest Law Center said, "The City had projected that the Minneapolis Police Department would only have 669 sworn officers as of June 1, 2022, so the order requires the City to take strong, immediate measures to increase its hiring substantially above what it had planned for 2021 and 2022."

"The decision is a landmark victory for the Petitioners, eight Black and White residents of Minneapolis' Jordan and Hawthorne neighborhoods on its embattled North Side, against the City Council's illegal attempts to 'Defund the Police'," the Upper Midwest Law Center said. 
The Petitioners—Cathy Spann, Sondra Samuels, Don Samuels, Audua Pugh, Jonathan Lundberg, Aimee Lundberg, Georgianna Yantos, and Juliee Oden—are represented in the lawsuit by the Upper Midwest Law Center."

The complaint filed by the city's residents came in response to a resolution passed following the death of Floyd, to replace the current police department with a community-led model. The resolution said the city council will engage "with every willing community member in Minneapolis" to form a new public safety model.

In a statement following the judge's order, Doug Seaton, President of the Upper Midwest Law Center, said, "This is a huge victory for the Petitioners and all residents of Minneapolis, especially those in the most diverse neighborhoods feeling the brunt of rising crime rates. We applaud the Court's decision and look forward to swift action by the City Council and Mayor to fund the police and ensure the safety of all Minneapolitans."

Minneapolis Police
Minneapolis Police Deputy Chief Art Knight speaks with people gathered near a crime scene on June 16, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A Minneapolis judge recently ordered the city to hire more police officers by next year. Stephen Maturen/Getty

While speaking to KMSP-TV in Minneapolis, Samuels said that he and the other petitioners "have demonstrated the statistical uptick and now this is the legal action we are exercising because it seems as if the City Council cannot hear us and doesn't feel what we feel."

KARE 11 News in Minneapolis previously reported that by the end of May, homicides in the city were up by 89 percent from the previous year while total violent crimes were up by 14 percent.

Newsweek reached out to Mayor Frey's office for further comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.