Police in Minnesota can’t ask 'do you know why I pulled you over?'

"Do you know why I pulled you over?" is a question a lot of us probably associate with traffic stops. But now, it's not allowed in Minnesota. 

Members of law enforcement seem mostly on board with this change to satisfy criminal justice advocates. It’s not unanimous, but a lot of agencies have already made the change.

The Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association (MCPA) helped negotiate it as a compromise, but there are officers who would argue it should still be allowed.

The seemingly simple question came with concerns that it put drivers in a difficult position.

"We don't want people making spontaneous confessions, and we don't want law enforcement officers to ask people questions except in a formal interrogation setting where they are Mirandized," said Michelle Gross of Communities United Against Police Brutality.

FOX 9 showed Gross two traffic stops: one where the officer asked the question.

"The first guy was fishing, plain and simple," Gross said.

And one where the driver almost caused a head-on collision, and the officer did not ask the question, but explained what he saw before he stopped the driver.

"Oh, wow," she said, complimenting the Minnesota State Patrol Officer.

Gross says stops are less likely to escalate when officers are straightforward. And a new law signed in May says that’s the approach law enforcement should take in most traffic stops not related to impaired driving.

"There's a mixed reaction to this," said MCPA Executive Director Jeff Potts.

The MCPA was neutral on the bill.

Potts says it was a compromise after criminal justice advocates asked to ban all pre-textual stops.

Since former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kim Potter killed Daunte Wright after pulling him over for expired tabs and an air freshener, there’s been pressure to limit those stops, and taking away the question of "why" is a start.

"Many agencies have moved away from that question, but but some had not," Potts said. "But this law will essentially force them to stop asking that question."

Criminal justice advocates hope that’s true, but they say the law has no teeth because asking the question won’t result in any evidence being thrown out or in any kind of repercussions for an officer.