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Minnesota Supreme Court reviews Minneapolis police staffing case Thursday

In 2020, eight Minneapolis residents filed a petition that said Mayor Jacob Frey and the city council failed to keep enough police officers on the force.

ST PAUL, Minn. — On Thursday morning the Minnesota Supreme Court is taking on a big case. Starting at 9 a.m., justices will review a ruling about Minneapolis police staffing.

This case has been a topic of discussion for about a year now.

Back in 2020, eight north Minneapolis residents complained about violence in their community caused by an inadequately funded and understaffed police force.

Residents filed a petition, saying Mayor Jacob Fry and the Minneapolis City Council failed to fund and employ an adequate number of police officers as required by the Minneapolis City Charter. The minimum threshold would be at least 731 officers.

In 2021, a district court sided with residents, saying the number of sworn officers fell below the required number. They asked the city to fix the issue by June 2022. 

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

But a court of appeals reversed that ruling last month. According to the Upper Midwest Law Center, the legal group representing the eight Minneapolis residents, the state supreme court also granted a motion to expedite the appeal. 

RELATED: Court rules Minneapolis city charter doesn't require minimum police staffing

"The Supreme Court made the right decision to take this case, which is so important to the safety of the people of Minneapolis," said James Dickey, senior trial counsel for UMLC in a release. "We look forward to bringing our strong arguments to the Supreme Court and obtaining reinstatement of the order for Minneapolis to restore the police force and comply with the City Charter."

At Thursday's hearing, the justices will have three items to consider. First, they need to rule on whether or not the mayor of Minneapolis is obligated to maintain the number of Minneapolis police officers on the city's force using city council funding. 

Second, the court will decide if the city council is funding the correct number of officers.

Third, a decision will need to be made on if the district was correct in siding with residents in 2021 saying that there were not enough officers at that time. 

The hearing for Spann, et al. vs. Minneapolis City Council, et al. is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Thursday. 

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