Minneapolis City Council Takes First Step to Disband Police Department

"As I understand it, they are saying, ‘We are going to have this new department. We don’t know what it’s going to look like yet."

The Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously to amend the charter that requires the city to fund a police department.

The vote was 12-0 in favor of amending the charter. The clause requiring the Council to provide for a police department would instead require them to do the same for “a department of community safety and violence prevention.” The Council cited racism and the death of George Floyd as reasons for the vote.

“… we find ourselves in office at a point in time which is extraordinary in many ways, extraordinary for the pain that our community is feeling after the death of George Floyd, for the pain our community has been feeling for many years, many centuries, because of racism and white supremacy,” said Council President Lisa Bender

The amendment will be referred to the City’s Charter Commission on Jul 8th, and if approved will be voted on by Minneapolis’s citizens for the final decision. Though sources show a citizens’ vote in November may go against the Council’s wishes.

Barry Clegg, the Chairman of the commission, has expressed concern with the City Council’s plans for the change.

“As I understand it, they are saying, ‘We are going to have this new department. We don’t know what it’s going to look like yet. We won’t implement this for a year, we’ll figure it out,’” said Clegg according to Courthouse News.

Some have called for the City Council itself to be disbanded. One such call comes from Jason Lewis, a Republican Candidate for MN Senate.

“Today the Minneapolis City Council continued with their absurd and dangerous plan to abolish the Minneapolis Police Department. The radicals on the City Council want to replace police officers with a new system that is ‘holistic’ and ‘public health-oriented’ run by somebody who doesn’t have experience in law enforcement but rather ‘public health and/or restorative justice,” said Lewis.