A bill titled Senate File 1197, that would make it a misdemeanor to publicize the home address of law enforcement personnel or their family members without consent, has received rare bipartisan support in the Minnesota legislature after protests last year that stoked fears of violence against civil servants, reports the Minnesota Post. Among the protests that resulted from the killing of George Floyd was one at the Hugo home of Minneapolis police union president Bob Kroll. One of the participants was now-state Rep. John Thompson, DFL-St Paul, who at one point threatened to burn the town of Hugo. The protest, which included the beating of effigies of Kroll and his wife, continues to hold the attention of lawmakers.
The bill’s prime sponsor, DFL Senator Karla Bigham of Cottage Grove, said that while she supported the right to protest, protesting at the homes of police officers and public officials is not productive and could endanger the safety of neighborhoods and communities where demonstrations take place. Her bill does not extend to elected officials, only police officers. And the crime would be triggered only when dissemination of home addresses, directions to a home or photographs of a home “poses an imminent and serious threat to the officer’s safety or household member’s safety” and the person distributing the information “knows or reasonably should know of the imminent and serious threat.”