The decision was inspired by the ongoing demonstrations in protest of George Floyd's murder. The City Council is hoping to trigger institutional reform.
Nine members of the Minneapolis City Council announced at a community rally on Sunday that they plan to defund and dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department, CNN reports. The Council is looking to invest in a community-led public safety program instead. The decision was prompted by the murder of Goerge Floyd, an unarmed black man, by white MPD officer Derek Chauvin. Council President Lisa Bender confirmed the news in an interview with CNN and claimed that the new model for public safety would "actually keep our community safe." While the idea of not having a police department may seem foreign and obscure to many, it is a tried and tested method of maintaining public safety.
A majority of the Minneapolis City Council pledged Sunday to abolish the city's police department. "We've got to create a system of public safety that works for everybody," says Councilmember @jeremiah4north. pic.twitter.com/KaAO3RYAIh— Democracy Now! (@democracynow) June 8, 2020
Council President Bender stated, "We committed to dismantling policing as we know it in the city of Minneapolis and to rebuild with our community a new model of public safety that actually keeps our community safe." The pledge was announced on Sunday morning. If nine out of 13 council members vote yes, the Council would have a veto-proof supermajority. According to Bender, the pledge is a recognition of the fact that the current method of policing is simply not working. She said, "[We need] to listen, especially to our black leaders, to our communities of color, for whom policing is not working and to really let the solutions lie in our community."
A majority of city council members in Minneapolis pledged to disband the city's police department in favor of a community-led model as protests continued across the U.S. over the weekend https://t.co/GwSKToG4Nt pic.twitter.com/rGvP70bnWd— Reuters (@Reuters) June 8, 2020
When asked for details about what the process of dismantling the Minneapolis Police Department might look like, the Council President stated that funding would be shifted from the department to "community-based strategies." Further to this, the Council is yet to discuss how they would "replace" the existing police department. Nonetheless, this is a more long-term approach to public safety rather than a myopic plan. She explained, "The idea of having no police department is certainly not in the short term." The decision comes after Bender and eight other council members analyzed 911 calls made by constituents. According to their findings, most calls were made in search of mental health, health, EMT, and fire services.
Minneapolis really burned down their police presinct & forced their city council to commit to disbanding their police department, just incredible— Mustafa (@MustafaThePoet) June 7, 2020
The call to dismantle the police department has only grown stronger in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests across the city. Therefore, the announcement Bender made on Sunday was a recognition of the residents' frustrations, anger, and desire to restore justice to their communities. "We’re here because we hear you," President Bender affirmed. "We are here today because George Floyd was killed by the Minneapolis Police. We are here because here in Minneapolis and in cities across the United States it is clear that our existing system of policing and public safety is not keeping our communities safe. Our efforts at incremental reform have failed. Period."
Huge: On Sunday afternoon, a veto-proof majority of Minneapolis City Council members will announce their commitment to disbanding the city’s embattled police department, which has endured relentless criticism after the police killing of George Floyd. https://t.co/w9KEGZLTPN— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) June 7, 2020
The announcement comes after several other cities have moved to disinvest funds from their own police departments. Most recently, Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti cut $150 million from the Los Angeles Police Department and announced that it would be plugged into communities of color instead. Across the United States, citizens and government officials have begun to realize that police departments are largely ineffective and cause more problems than they solve. Therefore, it is hoped that more cities will follow suit.