The Minneapolis City Council is holding a hearing Wednesday afternoon on a proposal to eliminate some minor crimes from city ordinances including spitting and lurking.
Critics say the laws are used disproportionately to cite and arrest blacks and other minorities.
However, the new head of city's police union says they're legitimate law enforcement tools that can help thwart more serious crime.
"You see someone in your yard late at night. You call 911. Police come. The person hides from them in some area of your yard, and he hasn't tried to break in, he hasn't tried to break in to any vehicles, or steal anything. Won't tell you what he's doing, has no reason to be in the area," said Lt. Bob Kroll, president-elect of the Minneapolis police union. "The police use that for lurking with intent to commit a crime."
As for targeting, Kroll said officers are often responding to complaints and 911 calls. They're not picking out suspects themselves.
"I don't see any targeting," he said. "And to make those kinds of arrests, officers have to articulate their means for doing so. They definitely have to articulate the crime being committed or what they think is about to be committed. So, it's not a matter of randomly pulling people over and charging them for this."
Before you keep reading ...
MPR News is made by Members. Gifts from individuals fuel the programs that you and your neighbors rely on. Donate today to power news, analysis, and community conversations for all.