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A judge has ruled that Minneapolis residents who sued the city over what they say is inadequate police staffing have legal standing to bring the suit.

The so-called "Minneapolis 8" say calls to defund the police this summer after the death of George Floyd have led to a shortage of officers and a rise in crimes, including shootings and carjackings.

"We are asking for transformation of the police department, the culture of the police department. But right now, today, with communities such as Jordan that are under siege with gun violence, what we are asking is that we need public safety while transformation is occurring," Cathy Spann, one of the Minneapolis 8, told WCCO-TV after the ruling.

Spann told the station the group is fighting for the entire city.

"And it is not just Jordan. It is the north side of Minneapolis. It is the south side of Minneapolis. It is the downtown businesses," she said. "Come on, this city is bleeding."

The suit says Mayor Jacob Frey and the City Council have a charter-based mandate to provide a police force of at least 743 sworn officers, based on the city's population. The plaintiffs include former City Council Member Don Samuels.

The City Council in June voted to remove the Police Department and replace it with a public safety program. The council later walked back some of its intentions.

Hennepin County District Judge Jamie Anderson said Friday's ruling is not a comment on the merits of their suit. An evidentiary hearing will be scheduled for early next year.

Matt McKinney • 612-673-7329