Republican Rep. Pat Garofalo has introduced a bill in the Minnesota House to ban protests outside of people’s homes.
The bill, HF 771, would make it so that any person “who protests before or about the residence or dwelling of any person” would be guilty of a gross misdemeanor. This would not apply to residences or dwellings that are used as a place of business nor would it apply to protests outside of places where meetings of public interest are held.
Minnesota has seen a variety of protests take place outside the homes of many notable officials. Most recently, protesters gathered outside the home of Minneapolis Police Chief Amelia Huffman to protest the death of Amir Locke.
Last November, activist Cortez Rice, whose son was recently killed in a Richfield school shooting, led a protest outside Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu’s alleged home. Chu served as the judge in the Kim Potter trial and Rice was protesting her decision to bar cameras from the courtroom. Rice was charged with felony harassment, but his charges were later dropped.
Several cities across the Twin Cities metro passed bans on targeted residential protests following George Floyd’s death in 2020. His death brought protesters to the homes of Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, Sen. Warren Limmer, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman and the former president of the Minneapolis police union.
Cities that have banned residential protesting include Otsego, Elk River, Lake Elmo, Andover, Lino Lakes, Centerville and Hugo.
Garofalo’s bill does not currently have a sponsor in the Minnesota Senate but has been referred to the Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Committee in the House.
Megan Olson is a 2020 graduate of the University of Minnesota with degrees in political science and history. She works in public affairs in addition to serving on the Legislative Advisory Council for School District 196. She is also on the school board for FIT academy, a charter school in Apple Valley.