Skip to main content

DFLers demand more police reform, GOP says it'll hold hearings on proposals

Democrats have been calling for change since Daunte Wright's death, and now Republicans say they'll hold hearings on bills but haven't made promises it'll lead to anything getting passed.

It looks as if police reform measures could be debated at the state Capitol this session in the wake of Daunte Wright's killing.   

Earlier this week, Gov. Tim Walz and other Democrats called on Republican senators to hold hearings on police accountability proposals this session. And on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-East Gull Lake, said the Senate would hold "fact-finding" hearings on some police reform proposals in the next two weeks.

"I'm not promising that we're going to do more reform. I'm promising that we're going to listen if something is warranted," Gazelka said during a news conference. 

It's unclear if additional reform measures will get approved this session. Gazelka on Tuesday stressed the Legislature has a lot of work to do before the session ends in mid-May, including passing budget bills by July 1 to prevent a government shutdown. 

This comes as members of the People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus and United Black Legislative Caucus (UBLC) are calling on their colleagues to pass police reform measures before they vote on any budget bills. 

Among the measures the POCI and UBLC caucuses are proposing: 

  • Allowing local governments to establish civilian oversight councils
  • Banning the alteration, erasure or destruction of body-worn camera recordings and withholding footage
  • Prohibiting peace officers from affiliating with white supremacist groups
  • Providing funding for community organizations working to prevent crime. 

The caucuses in a news release on Tuesday noted the House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Committee has held 11 public hearings on police reform and accountability in 2021, while Senate Republicans haven't held any this year. 

“While our community is in pain, grieving the loss of yet another Black man in Minnesota, law enforcement groups and so many others across the aisle are playing politics. We’ve held dozens of hearings over the course of the session that were met with resistance and dismissiveness from law enforcement groups and Republican members in both the Senate and the House,” said Rep. Cedrick Frazier, DFL-New Hope, who serves as the vice chair of the House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Committee. 

“The people of Minnesota deserve and demand a future where community trust is sacred, police officers are held accountable for misconduct, and justice is served. We cannot normalize waking up to a piling list of Black men killed by law enforcement officers," Frazier added. 

Following George Floyd's death in May 2020, Walz and other Democrats, including the POCI Caucus, proposed major legislative changes but many did not get included in the final police accountability package that Walz signed into law last summer, something Gazelka referred to as "significant" legislation.

Among the items included in last summer's police accountability package: a ban on
police "warrior training" and the use of chokeholds; arbitration reform; requirements for the duty to intercede; mental health and autism training; reforms to the Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) Board; the creation of a new advisory council with citizen voices; and use of force reform.

Democrats and activists, though, criticized Republicans for the final bill not doing enough to enact systemic change, address racial disparities and curb police misconduct. 

During a news conference Monday afternoon, Walz called on the Legislature to finally take up police and criminal justice reforms that would prevent routine traffic stops from turning deadly.

"We can stop pretending that this is just the natural order of the universe and things happen this way," Walz said. "I'm going to demand the Legislature finally hold some hearings on some of these reforms," citing, without detailing specifics, reforms that have passed in other states that have been "proven to make a difference" and reduce the chance of "a routine traffic stop escalating into a loss of life."

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Walz said there are "proposals out there" and proven remedies that can be put into place, "but that will never happen if we don't at least hold hearings on these things. If we don't get ourselves into an uncomfortable position and do what this democracy is supposed to do and debate the hard things."

“We can either come together to fix this or we can suffer together as fools,” Walz said Monday. “In the midst of this trial (Derek Chauvin's trial) that the world is watching, the situation repeated itself yesterday (Sunday)."

In a statement on Monday, the POCI Caucus noted, "At the Legislature, we have several police accountability bills that are ready to be voted on and sent to the Governor, including the House DFL Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform budget bill which contains several critical reforms."

"We strongly urge our Republican colleagues to join us in creating a public safety system that will protect the lives of people like Daunte Wright," the statement continued. "Black Lives Matter.”

Also during Tuesday's news conference, Gazelka first referred to Daunte Wright as Duane, but then later apologized. He also said "being respectful" when getting pulled over by police "goes a long way."

Next Up


Runways shut down at MSP Airport due to heavy snow

Some spots in the Twin Cities could see up to 8 inches of snow on Tuesday.

Sourced_Q4_229260_A (1)

2PinkSquirrels - making memories with milkshakes

First Time Guests Get BOGO milkshakes starting December 1st and running through December 15th


Government official accused of stealing luggage at MSP Airport

Charges state Sam Brinton stole luggage with its contents valued at over $2,000.

Screen Shot 2022-11-29 at 12.09.28 PM

Developer plans 'modern European' condos for Minnetonka

City planners are set to review a concept plan Thursday.


Expect up to 8 inches in Twin Cities; another snowstorm next week?

The latest from Bring Me The News meteorologist Sven Sundgaard.


Northern long-eared bat moved from threatened to endangered list

Populations affected by white-nose syndrome have declined by 97% or more.


Court: Ex-cop who fatally shot Philando Castile had teaching license wrongfully denied

The Court of Appeals sent the application back for reconsideration by the board.


State Capitol

MN House passes omnibus public safety bill with police reform measures

The Senate previously passed its omnibus public safety bill without police accountability legislation.

State Capitol.

MN Legislature's agreement on public safety bill leaves out key police reforms

Rep. Carlos Mariani called the bill "a great disappointment."

Screen Shot 2021-04-12 at 5.44.29 PM

Brooklyn Center mayor proposes policing reform, including unarmed traffic enforcement

The resolution includes sweeping changes to policing in the wake of Daunte Wright's death.


MN Senate passes public safety bill without DFL-backed police reform measures

Democrats say the bill doesn't do enough to address police accountability.

Governor Tim Walz

Walz uses executive actions to enact some police reform

This comes as the legislature is set to vote this week on a watered-down public safety bill.

Screen Shot 2020-05-26 at 10.28.52 AM

Where efforts to change policing stand a year after George Floyd's death

A look at efforts in Minneapolis, Minnesota and at the national level.

paul gazelka

'Cop out': Senate GOP leader under fire for cancelling police reform hearings

Senate Maj. Leader Paul Gazelka retracted support for such hearings.

paul gazelka

Minnesota Senate to hold hearings on Twin Cities riots

DFLers upset, call for criminal justice reforms instead.