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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A coalition of Minnesota’s largest law enforcement groups sued the state Friday seeking to over- turn a state law that changed the standard for justified use of deadly force by police.
The lawsuit claims the law, which took effect in March, vio- lates officers’ rights to self- defense and unconstitutionally compels officers to forfeit their rights to refuse to testify against themselves in deadly force cases. The law underwent a major rewrite following George Floyd’s death in the custody of four Minneapolis police officers last May. Ex-Officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced last week to 22 1/2 years in prison. The three others are due to stand trial in March. All four also face federal civil rights charges. The lawsuit was filed in Ramsey County by the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association, the Minnesota Sheriffs’ Association, the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, and Law Enforcement Labor Services, Minnesota Public Radio reported.
The rewritten standard nar-rowed the conditions for when deadly force is deemed appropri- ate and depends on an officer articulating an imminent threat.
Deadly force is now considered justified only when necessary to prevent great harm or death to an officer or bystander.
The police groups contend that officers weren’t given enough time to train on the new standard. Efforts to rewrite the law again or put it on hold failed to get included in a police accountability package passed during the Legislature’s special session this week.