(The Center Square) – Hennepin County District Judge Jamie Anderson on Thursday ordered the 429,000-person city of Minneapolis to hire more cops.
The writ of mandamus orders the Minneapolis City Council and Mayor Jacob Frey to comply with the city charter policing requirement and “immediately take any and all necessary action to ensure that they fund a police force” of at least 730 sworn officers, or more if required by the 2020 Census to be published later this year, by June 30, 2022.
The city projected the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) would have 669 sworn officers as of June 1, 2022. The order requires the city to boost hiring for 2021 and 2022— what could be a challenging task as officers have fled the department over the last year.
The document says parties agreed that on Jan. 1, 2022, MPD will have 649 sworn officers; June 1, 2022, MPD will have 669 sworn officers; and on Jan 1, 2023, MPD will have 721 sworn officers.
The lawsuit was filed in August of 2020 by concerned Minneapolis residents living in the North Side of Minneapolis.
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 conservative Upper Midwest Law Center.
The write of mandamus follows a year after the Minneapolis city council unanimously passed a resolution intending to disband MPD and create a new public safety model in response to George Floyd’s death in police custody.
Meanwhile, violent crime surged. Carjackings had increased 537% year-to-date in November 2020. More than 550 people were wounded by gunfire in 2020, exceeding a 100% increase over 2019, Minnesota Public Radio reported, while people shot more than 24,000 bullets in Minneapolis in 2020.
According to MPD data in Minneapolis, there were 82 homicides in 2020, the third-worst year in city history. The Star Tribune reported 97 homicides were recorded in 1995, the worst year on record, followed by 83 in 1996. In 2019, there were 48 homicides.
Six months into 2021, Minneapolis has 42 homicides and 187 shootings, KARE 11 reported.
Mayor Jacob Frey hasn’t yet responded to a request for comment.
“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,” Doug Seaton, president of the Upper Midwest Law Center, said in a statement. “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.”