Minnesota POST wants to allow ‘non-citizens’ to be police officers – Law Officer

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The Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) is trying to allow non-citizens to become licensed police officers and prohibit people who engage with undefined “hate” groups on social media from step into the force.

These changes have been approved by the Board of Directors by a wide margin and are pending review by the reviewer.

Removal of the citizenship requirement

Currently, the minimum selection standards to become a licensed peace officer in Minnesota require applicants to “be citizens of the United States.” The POST Board, however, has approved a proposal to also include applicants who are “eligible to work in the United States under federal requirements.”

This is not a unique proposal. California is trying to do the same, but California initiated this change through the state legislature, while in Minnesota it is being pushed by a group of unelected politicians.

Additionally, efforts in other states to allow non-citizens to become police officers have only extended to permanent residents, not just those eligible to work in the United States – a much larger category. large. The POST Board Advisory Committee noted that: “There are many problems and practicalities created by adding ‘authorized to work in the United States’ to the minimum screening standards of the revised rule”, instead of keeping the same rule. or to allow only lawful permanent residents to become police officers.

The committee also notes “concerns as to whether a person should be authorized, as a police officer, to deprive a citizen of his liberty when that person is not a citizen”.

Despite the fact that the advisory committee did not support the change, the board moved the measure forward earlier this month.

Restrictions on “hate groups”

The council also voted to affirm a rule change that would allow the state to revoke the licenses of officers who participate “in any form in the activities of a white supremacist; hate or extremist group. However, what constitutes such a group is thinly defined and the criteria for supporting such a group apparently include membership in the wrong online communities.

The full text of the proposed hate group rule changes can be found on page 21 of the linked document.

According to the proposed changes, support for a white supremacist hate group may be demonstrated through “engagement in posts, chats, [or] forums” that promote derogatory actions against protected minorities or “seditious activities”.

“Cyberpresence” at hate group “events” is also cause for license revocation, according to the board.

“Seditious activities” are not defined. What it means to have a “cyberpresence” is not defined.

The changes also propose that officers caught making extremist “hand signals” be punished, an apparent allusion to a broad and long-standing conspiracy that police who give the OK hand gesture telegraph their adherence to the right-wing extremist ideologies.

The advisory committee has reached an exact tie to determine whether it supports or opposes this proposal. The dissenters said they “specifically object to the broad language and identified activities”.

“The terms supporting, defending or participating are very broad and can include activities that are not directly related to activities considered derogatory or harmful,” the dissenting committee members said. “Support and advocacy can be as broad as liking a social media post, even if a peace officer has taken no other material action to promote an organization’s mission.”

They also questioned why white supremacist groups needed to be specified, pointing out how the terms “hate and extremist groups overlap with white supremacist groups.”

Alpha News spoke with a police chief who serves a rural community in Minnesota who raised additional questions about this proposal. The leader pointed out how an actor in bad faith could take advantage of this rule to discriminate against members of religious sects that oppose same-sex marriage or do not allow women to become religious leaders. According to the proposal letter, the chief observed, these groups could be considered hate groups and officers who donate to them, participate in services or evangelize could face a license denial or revocation.

During discussion of the proposed wording, POST Board member Justin Terrell, who is appointed to represent the public, apparently blamed white supremacists for killing people during the George Floyd riots.

“White supremacist organizations … have blood on their hands throughout the uprising,” he said, perpetuating a theory that white supremacists sparked the violence that ravaged Minneapolis in the summer of 2020.

Law Officer is honored to partner with AlphaNews as they report law enforcement stories from the Minneapolis area. Learn more about: www.alphanews.org.

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