Walz calls on Minnesota Senate to take action on police reform

Rachel Mills
Updated: April 29, 2021 06:05 PM
Created: April 29, 2021 04:43 PM

(ABC 6 News) - Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and Legislators from both sides of the aisle in the Minnesota House and Senate described the changes in policing they been pushed for all session. Still, Walz said it's now up to the Minnesota Senate to take action. 

"We need to keep this from politicizing Black, brown and Indigenous bodies. We need to try and find a way to bring us together and try to listen to where folks are at," Walz said.  

With just three weeks left in the legislative session, the Minnesota Senate has yet to hold any hearings on police reform. Minnesota House leaders said they have already passed several reform bills.

"I hope the Senate doesn't treat our lives like a bargaining chip, and I truly mean that. And I hope they're listening right now," Rep. Cedrick Frazier (DFL) said.  

The bills the House passed this session would reform the use of no-knock warrants, prohibit traffic stops for certain minor violations and strengthen civilian oversight of Minnesota police departments.

And Walz said he is worried the senate will run out the clock without taking action. 

"I think both sides obviously see things very differently. I do think perspective matters, Senator Gazelka, and I believe him when he says, he doesn't think there's a problem here and the system works, and we're trying to say there is," Walz said.  

Those who support police reform said these bills should be a top priority this session after the deaths of George Floyd and Daunte Wright.

"We must address police reform immediately because every Minnesotan, regardless of where they live or what they look like, deserves to feel safe in their communities," Senate Minority Leader Susan Kent (DFL) said. 

"It must be acknowledged that there are heroic law enforcement officers who go to work every day and put their lives on the line to protect us. Their good and heroic work is overshadowed by these deadly force encounters that never should have happened," Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman (DFL) said.  

Republican Rep. Brian Johnson accused the governor and democrats of only listening to their "liberal activist base."

No Republican Senators in our area were immediately available for comment on the issue.

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