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Gov. Tim Walz signs Minnesota police reform bill into law

Gov. Tim Walz signs Minnesota police reform bill into law
Protests nationwide erupted calling for police reforms following the Memorial Day police-involved killing of George Floyd. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

July 24 (UPI) -- Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed into a law police reforms following weeks of protests in response to the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.

The bipartisan Minnesota Police Accountability Act, which passed the Democratic-led House and the Republican-led Senate earlier this week, provides for mental health and crisis intervention training for officers, mandates monthly reports for each use of force incident and bans so-called warrior training and chokeholds, like the one former officer Derek Chauvin used on Floyd.

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The law also creates a new advisory council with citizen input, mandates officers to intervene when another officer uses force beyond what is reasonable and a slew of types of training.

"Every single person, every single Minnesotan deserves to feel safe and protected in their communities," the Democratic governor said during a press conference Thursday. "This bipartisan piece of legislation moves us toward criminal justice reform. These critical reforms are long overdue -- they are meant to strengthen transparency and community oversight."

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The bill was led by the Minnesota Legislature's People of Color and Indigenous Caucus and was signed into law nearly two months after it was introduced following Floyd's Memorial Day killing.

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Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was killed May 25, when Chauvin, a White officer, pinned him to the ground with a knee to his neck for more than eight minutes.

His death spurred protests against police brutality and racial inequality nationwide.

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Rep. Carlos Mariani said after the Minnesota legislature passed the bill on Monday that it was the start of making overdue changes to the state to help ensure no more lives are lost to police violence.

"By passing this bill into law, we're taking the first steps toward major changes to hold police officers accountable for harmful acts, and we are committed to continuing our work for safer communities," he said in a statement.

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Protesters demand justice in police killing of George Floyd

Demonstrators hold a sign in Los Angeles on June 14 for Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was shot by police in her home while she was sleeping. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

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