Council may repeal laws on lurking

Council may repeal laws on lurking

Moira Blodgett

Benjamin Farniok

A Minneapolis law some say creates racial disparities is one step closer to being repealed.

Residents and activists expressed their concerns at a public hearing last week over the city’s lurking law, which prohibits waiting or hiding either publicly or privately with the “intent to commit any crime.”
 
Though members of community organizations like Neighborhoods Organizing for Change and Black Lives Matter said the law gives way for racial profiling among police officers, other residents and city officials said they favor the law because it helps law enforcement officials prevent crimes such as theft.
 
Ward 2 City Councilman Cam Gordon is leading the effort to repeal the law, which he said is vague and rarely enforced.
 
“Lurking — thinking about doing something wrong — doesn’t actually have any harm,” he said.
 
Gordon attempted to repeal the lurking law in 2008, but he said he thinks the law has a better chance of being removed now because of the country’s increasing 
awareness of racial inequalities perpetuated by law enforcement.
 
Lieutenant Bob Kroll, vice president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, said he supports the law because it gives police the right to arrest anyone trespassing or waiting around cars late at night.
 
“I think it is a wrong move for the good citizens who deserve police protection,” Kroll said, “I’m not opposed to modifying it, but it’s a great tool that the police need to
have in their toolbox.”
 
The City Council will vote next week on whether to repeal the law.