A Ramsey County judge on Monday hit pause on Minnesota's new police use of force standards amid a legal challenge filed by several law enforcement lobbying groups.

"The public policy implications are severe, and it is imperative that we get this right," Judge Leonardo Castro wrote in an order suspending new provisions that the Legislature passed months after George Floyd's death in 2020.

Four law enforcement groups — the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association, Minnesota Sheriffs' Association, Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association and Law Enforcement Labor Services Inc. — sued Gov. Tim Walz and the state of Minnesota in July after failing to persuade the Legislature to push back a deadline for training officers on the new requirements.

The plaintiffs said that the new use of force standards unconstitutionally compel officers to forfeit their rights to refuse to testify against themselves in deadly force cases.

The 2020 law change no longer allows officers to justify deadly force by claiming that they used such force to protect themselves or another person from "apparent" death or great bodily harm. The new law now reads "to protect the peace officer or another from death or great bodily harm."

The change also added new conditions that the threat of death or harm be "articulated with specificity" by the officer, is "reasonably likely to occur absent action by the law enforcement officer" and "must be addressed through use of deadly force without unreasonable delay."

Castro ruled Monday that the changes to the law will be put on hold until the lawsuit is complete and that the use of force conditions revert to those that were in place before the new law went into effect in March. He said the briefing and oral argument schedule for the case will be expedited. Arguments will take place within 60 days of Monday's order.

Castro declined to grant Walz's motion to dismiss the case after the governor argued that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue. Castro wrote that the law enforcement groups "need not wait for one of its members to be charged with a homicide crime before the question of the constitutionality of the provision" is resolved.

"The uncertainty and insecurity would be unconscionable," Castro wrote. "Additionally, reason and common sense dictate that we do not allow chiefs of police and sheriffs to prepare and implement training programs that may be based on an unconstitutional premise. If the Revised Statute provision is unconstitutional, it is best we know that now before it is too late."