Activist petition involving the Minneapolis Police Department stalled by lack of valid signatures — for now

Minneapolis residents appear to be largely unaware of a petition filed May 1 by the activist group Twin Cities Coalition for Justice (TCC4J). The petition proposes to amend the City Charter to allow for complete community control of the Minneapolis Police Department through the creation of a 13-member elected Civilian Police Accountability Commission (CPAC). Each commissioner on CPAC would earn a salary commensurate to a full time city council member. 

According to TCC4J’s proposal, CPAC would “provide for community control of the police department policies, budget and accountability, and have power over the “establishment, maintenance, and command of the police department.”

Among the qualification of those who would serve on the CPAC — “be a survivor of police misconduct, or a family member of an individual killed at the hands of law enforcement or otherwise affected by police violence or misconduct.” Any employment history in law enforcement or having a family member who is or was in law enforcement is an automatic disqualifier.

TCC4J was required to submit signatures totaling 5% of the most recent city voting total, equating to 8,943 signatures. TCC4J began soliciting signatures in 2021 after announcing its intention to petition for this charter change. After three years TCC4J submitted 12,970 signatures it claimed were valid Minneapolis registered voters who supported the petition.

Today, the Minneapolis City Clerk’s Office reported its signature verification results to the City Council. In a stunning statement of TCC4J’s lack of credibility, the Clerk’s Office reported it had determined that only 42% (5,445) of the signatures submitted by TCC4J could be considered valid signatures based on 13 criteria.

By rule, TCC4J now has 10 days to “cure the petition” by correcting and resubmitting valid signatures of registered Minneapolis voters. 

If TCC4J fails to submit corrected signatures within 10 days the measure dies. If they succeed in submitting the required 8,943 votes the City Council will then be tasked with creating a ballot question for voters on November 5. If the ballot question receives 51% of the vote, then the City Charter would be changed, and the city would be required to create a new 13 member elected CPAC.

This petition is activism at its worst. It undermines the legitimate efforts Mayor Jacob Frey, Commissioner of Community Safety Toddrick Barnette, and Chief Brian O’Hara have going to rebuild the Minneapolis Police Department into a trusted and effective public safety tool. One of the keys to that rebuild is creating an environment that attracts and retains police officers willing to work for the City of Minneapolis. Turning command and control over to elected activists would be a devastating set-back in that effort.

Minneapolitans who are tired of the lawlessness and disfunction on their streets would be wise to learn more about this activist effort (here) and make their voices heard, both at the City Council and at the ballot box.