A Tale of Two State Supreme Courts Ruling on Criminal Justice Issues

A Tale of Two State Supreme Courts Ruling on Criminal Justice Issues

By Steve Pomper   

American courts, these days, can be so frustrating, especially for people interested in equal justice. Take the Washington State Supreme Court that, as reported by the NPA, recently ruled the state’s cops must consider a driver’s race/ethnicity before a traffic stop can be considered to be a “legal” detention.

Their ruling is a prima facia violation of the Constitution’s equal justice clause. What’s worse is those justices know it. But in today’s CRT, social justice world, the far-left must link the ideology with activism.

For example, when I was still an active cop, there were plenty of laws I didn’t like. However, I didn’t ignore the laws I didn’t like, as Washington’s supreme court justices are ignoring, among others, the 14th Amendment’s “Equal Justice” clause. I thought they were trying to get cops to not judge people by their race.

So, it’s nice to see a state supreme court, especially in a blue state, rule sensibly against leftists ignoring laws they don’t like. I’m talking about the Minnesota Supreme Court ruling that Minneapolis must comply with minimum staffing requirements for its police department. That’s a minimum of 731 cops—if they can find any hires to get to that number.

CBS News reported:

A ruling from the Minnesota Supreme Court says that the city must uphold its charter and employ a minimum of 731 police officers, a number the city has been below for many months in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and civil unrest after the murder of George Floyd.

This ruling comes after eight Northside residents sued the city, citing high levels of violent crime and a lack of police officers. They argued the gun violence, carjackings and break-ins were impacting their daily lives.

I’ve written about Minneapolis’ defund the police effort and its idea to replace cops with “violence interrupters.” Within a month, a city councilman who supported it was crying to the police chief about the crime his constituents were dealing with. “Where are the police,” he wanted to know. You can’t make up that kind of stupid.

Don Samuels, a party to the original lawsuit, “is hoping to primary Rep. Ilhan Omar for the Democratic ticket.”

Samuels said, “The courts have decided that we have been harmed, that we, in fact, have been impacted, that our lives are in danger. The judge heard that there are bullets coming through our homes, through our cars, and through our children.”

It’s appropriate here to put in a shameless plug for the great work done by the NPA. In February of 2021, the NPA filed an amicus brief in support of Minneapolis residents simply wanting their city officials to follow the law and staff their police department adequately. You can read about the NPA’s efforts here.

The interim city attorney, Peter Grinder, said he’s reviewing the order to prepare for a district court appearance on the matter. Grinder issued a statement, noting the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) has lost some 300 cops, which, he says, “is not easily corrected.”

Grinder also said (barely there) Mayor Jacob Frey and the MPD are “are working in good faith to recruit and hire more community oriented peace officers as quickly as reasonably possible” . He said, “the City is continuing to work to rebuild the police force to full strength.

So, “community oriented peace officers,” as opposed to the “jack-booted dinosaurs” they have now (and those who’ve left), who actually know how to do police work but a woke city government wouldn’t let them. Grinder’s just hurling another insult at his city’s cops.

Grinder should recall that Frey is one of the primary reasons 300 (and climbing) cops are gone. He was no friend of the cops before becoming ground zero for the 2020 leftist riots. Of all the city leaders in America in 2020, he was the single official who had the best chance to stop or vastly reduce the destruction that subsequently occurred in Minneapolis and across the nation.

The irony is Frey and other Minneapolis city officials brought this on themselves. Very little of the eventual destruction had happened when Frey still had the ability, if he’d wanted to, to quell the riot in Minneapolis. Instead, he chose to sacrifice a police precinct to the rioters. The BLM/Antifa militias saw this appeasement as a huge victory.

It’s likely if he’d enforced the law and protected the residents and business owners in Minneapolis, other lefty American mayors, at least some, might have followed his lead. I believe it’s also likely they would not have abandoned Seattle PD’s East Precinct to the CHOP/CHAZ Jenny “Summer of Love” Durkan’s insurrection zone.   

James Dickey, attorney for the plaintiffs, issued a statement:

This is a huge victory for our clients and the residents of Minneapolis. This decision requires Mayor Frey to show that he has complied with the Charter police minimum or show why he cannot. MPD is under the required amount by at least a hundred officers, and we look forward to seeing the evidence of what the Mayor and City Council have done to change that. 

So, what a difference a state makes. Both Washington and Minnesota are blue states with lunatic leftist morons running their largest cities. However, one state has a supreme court that cares little for enforcing or obeying laws it doesn’t like. Its justices feel well within their authority to mandate police officers violate constitutional law to appease their ideological activism and achieve their political goals.

The other state is mandating its largest city fund its police department, adequately, according to its city charter—in other words, according to the law—whether they like the law or not.

Still, the real challenge will be retaining police veterans and attracting qualified recruits—who actually want to work in Minneapolis.