According to a new policy, Minneapolis police won’t stop motorists for minor traffic violations like expired tabs or air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror.
In an internal memo, Chief Police Officer Medaria Arrandondo stated that the decision was made after looking at how officers could better use their time and resources.
“MPD will no longer be conducting traffic stops solely for these offenses: expired tabs, an item dangling from a mirror, or not having a working license plate light,” Arradondo wrote in the memo obtained by the Star Tribune.
Critics argue that low-level traffic stops where officers use minor equipment violations as justification to pull over someone they are investigating contribute to racial disparities within the criminal justice system.
In the memo, it was stated that the city attorney would cease prosecuting driving tickets after suspension if there were no accidents or other egregious driving behaviors that could impact public safety.
After the deaths of Philando and Daunte Castile, calls for change have intensified after their deaths. They were shot by suburban police officers during traffic stops.
The chief has promised sweeping changes within the department following the death of George Floyd last year at the hands of police. Some believe that traffic stops have dropped sharply since Floyd’s death in May 2020. This could be due to understaffing.
Similar policy changes have taken place in large U.S. towns, such as Portland, Oregon. The city had earlier announced that it would no longer pursue expired plates and broken headlights.