The ACLU of Minnesota fights for civil liberties throughout the state and across the issues that impact our lives. As another year comes to a close, celebrate with us as we reflect on our biggest victories of 2021 – all made possible because of you!
  1. Protected immigrants from wrongful imprisonment in Anoka County. In the first virtual federal jury trial in Minnesota, we won a verdict finding Anoka County and its sheriff falsely imprisoned a foreign-born woman after a minor traffic incident. They slow-walked her booking and then released her to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Anoka County had an unwritten and unconstitutional policy of contacting ICE about any interaction with people born outside of the U.S.
  2. Banned indiscriminate surveillance by police of everyday life in Minneapolis. The ACLU-MN and the POSTME Coalition won passage of a ban on the use of facial recognition technology by police in Minneapolis. The tech allows the automated and indiscriminate surveillance of people simply living their daily lives. In February, the Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously to prohibit the use of this tech by law enforcement or any other city department.
  3. Won important legislation to fight the criminalization of poverty. Several of ACLU-MN's priority issues became law at the state Legislature this year, a result of years of hard work alongside a diverse coalition of advocates. We helped end driver's license suspensions for unpaid low-level traffic tickets, reformed how Minnesota courts assess fines and fees, and overhauled the state's civil asset forfeiture system, all important in starting to end the criminalization of poverty.
  4. Won protections for the freedom of the press. Our quest to end police attacks on and arrests of journalists, who were just doing their jobs covering protests, is going well. A federal judge granted a preliminary injunction that prohibits such misconduct by the Minnesota State Patrol and other law enforcement working with them while our class action lawsuit is ongoing. Since the police killings of George Floyd and Daunte Wright, law enforcement officers have shot journalists with projectiles, doused them in pepper spray, and arrested them for covering protests.
  5. Won a settlement and reforms after two Rock County deputies tried to forcibly conduct a vaginal search on a public roadside. The September settlement includes $140,000 for the woman who underwent this traumatic attempted strip search, and reforms such as updated policies and training for proper dashcam usage and body searches, supervisory review of stops and arrests, a revised complaint process, and clearer definitions for searches.
  6. Won the rights of Trans students to have access to facilities in schools. The ACLU-MN partnered with Gender Justice to help set a new standard to protect LGBTQ students from discrimination. We netted $300,000 for the student, plus numerous reforms. The court ruling that led to the settlement means trans students can use the locker rooms that match their gender identity, and should have the same access to programs and facilities as all students.
  7. Helped expand public safety for all in Brooklyn Center. The ACLU and ACLU-MN worked with Brooklyn Center officials to help create a groundbreaking resolution to expand public safety for every resident of the city. The amended budget that unanimously passed Dec. 6 will help fund a new crisis response team, hire a director of the newly created Department of Public Safety, fund community and youth programming, and more. 
  8. Safeguarded the right to public demonstrations in Saint Paul. The ACLU-MN fought off a resolution in Saint Paul that would have limited public gatherings to only five people, ending any ability of citizens to come together for protest demonstrations. We worked with allies to push against this ordinance, and the city council withdrew the measure in March.
  9. Fighting to restore voting rights. The ACLU of Minnesota and national ACLU recently appealed to the state Supreme Court to challenge the disenfranchisement of more than 53,000 Minnesotans on felony probation or parole. We think Minnesotans who are living, working, raising families, and paying taxes in the community should get to vote – not be barred from it!
  10. Mobilized volunteers for more than 1,000 hours of service. ACLU-MN volunteers logged 1,060 hours! Primary to our volunteer efforts were supporting public safety in Minneapolis, fighting to restore the vote to 53,000 disenfranchised Minnesotans and calling lawmakers. Thanks to all our members and volunteers who supported our work and made it possible!