Minneapolis City Council Wants To Give Themselves The Power To Abolish Police

The Minneapolis City Council wants to pass an amendment that grants itself the power to defund the police.

Very progressive— two of the Minneapolis City Council Members are transgender.
Very progressive— two of the Minneapolis City Council Members are transgender.

The Minneapolis City Council has drafted an amendment to the City Charter that will give them the power abolish the police.

The 13 person council has been on a crusade to get rid of its own city’s police department in the wake of George Floyd’s death last month at the hands of a Minneapolis cop. However, they are presently unable to do away with law enforcement, as the city charter requires the them to fund a police department. This may not be an obstacle forever though if the council’s newest effort is successful.

A new amendment drafted by 5 of the councilmembers, including the council president and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s son, proposes to strike the police from the list of 15 items the charter says they must “provide for.” In the place of a police department, a requirement for “a department of community safety and violence prevention” will become charter-guaranteed, should the amendment see success.

Seen here: council’s proposed amendment.

There are two ways this amendment may be approved. The simplest method would be to secure “the unanimous affirmative vote of the entire membership of the City Council and the approval of the mayor,” per the city.

Another more complicated method that can be employed involves putting the issue to a vote with the citizenry of Minneapolis. If the council chooses to pursue this course of action, they can override the mayor’s wishes with a 2/3 majority vote and have the question added to the next general election (or, if there is none scheduled within the next six months, a standalone election will be created). A simple majority will serve to pass the measure if put to a public vote.

This flowchart depicts the process by which a charter amendment may be approved in Minneapolis. (Image source: screenshot/City of Minneapolis)

Meanwhile, several prominent groups have been formed to advocate the destruction of Minneapolis law enforcement. One of these is MPD150, which says that “a police-free world” would mean that “people have more capacity to build, dream & imagine.”

The group also distributes images of how they envision Minneapolis, post-police.

This picture, posted by MPD150 celebrates the destruction of the 3rd Police Precinct which was burned by rioters during the George Floyd riots.