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Judge to hear arguments Monday in lawsuit over Minneapolis police funding, staffing

Residents are asking a judge to force city leaders to maintain a minimum number of police officers.

MINNEAPOLIS — A Hennepin County judge will hear arguments Monday in a lawsuit brought by a group of Minneapolis residents looking to force city leaders to maintain a minimum number of police officers.

The suit against the Minneapolis City Council and Mayor Jacob Frey asks a judge to require the city "to fund and employ the number of active-duty licensed police officers required by the Minneapolis City Charter, and continue to do so," according to a statement by the Upper Midwest Law Center, which is representing the petitioners.

The suit alleges the city now has fewer officers than required by the current charter, due to changes instituted by the city, as well as recent retirements and departures of officers from MPD.

RELATED: Council moves money from MPD as part of revised Minneapolis city budget

"The legal action ... asks the court to order the Mayor and City Council to comply with the City Charter by taking all necessary steps to hire, train, fund and deploy a minimum of 743 licensed peace officers," the statement said.

Following the death of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer in May, council members vowed to take action to replace the existing MPD with a new kind of public safety department; however, such a change requires a citywide vote to change the city's charter.

RELATED: Ballot measure to replace Minneapolis Police Department won't be ready for November

Mayor Frey and MPD Chief Medaria Arradondo have announced several changes to the police department in the interim, including changes to the city's use of force policy.

RELATED: Frey, Arradondo announce changes to MPD's use-of-force policies

In a statement to KARE 11, the Minneapolis City Attorney vowed to defend the city against the suit.

"The City Attorney’s Office is vigorously defending the City in this lawsuit and is confident City leaders have met their obligations as required by the City Charter," the statement said.

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