Lawmakers in Minneapolis have voted to completely dismantle the city’s police department and instead focus effort and funding on community initiative geared towards public safety. Nine out of 12 councilmembers voted in favor of the measure to “dismantle” and “abolish” the department, a supermajority that not even the mayor can veto.
Saying the Police Department cannot be reformed, 9 Minneapolis City Council members vowed to rethink public safety from the ground up. No other major city has gone as far in reaction to the protests as the Minneapolis officials have promised to do. https://t.co/mccIOyJBJB
— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 8, 2020
- Traditional policing just isn’t working. As Minneapolis city council president Lisa Bender said at a community rally on Sunday, “In Minneapolis and in cities across the US, it is clear that our system of policing is not keeping our communities safe. Our efforts at incremental reform have failed, period. Our commitment is to do what’s necessary to keep every single member of our community safe and to tell the truth: that the Minneapolis police are not doing that. Our commitment is to end policing as we know it and to recreate systems of public safety that actually keep us safe.”
- Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey opposed defunding the police department. However, given that the city council controls the force’s budget and policy, Frey doesn’t have much say when it comes to the dismantling of the force. The city council has the right to cut funding and put ordinances in place that takes away the police department’s power in the city.
- The people of Minneapolis are largely behind the decision. Tony Williams, member of Minneapolis group MPD150, said the public largely supports more community-based measures of ensuring safety and that people stay safe. “This is a moment that’s going to go down in history as a landmark in the police and prison abolition movement,” Williams said. “There’s a groundswell of support for this. People are grounded in the history of policing in a way that has never happened before. It’s visible that police are not able to create safety for communities.”
- It was about time this happened. While the idea of defunding the police previously seemed radical or even ludicrous, it’s become more and more attractive and even necessary over the past several weeks. The decision to abolish the Minneapolis police department isn’t just historic for the city but for the United States as a whole, and other cities and states may follow suit.