A new poll commissioned by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) shows that 61% of Minneapolis residents want to defund and replace the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD).
The ACLU conducted the poll through the Benenson Strategy Group (BSG) in coordination with The Fairness Project. The survey asked 668 respondents if they support an amendment to the Minneapolis City Charter that would allow the City Council to defund the MPD and install a “Community Safety and Violence Prevention Department” in its place.
The question posed to respondents didn’t use the words “defunding” or “abolishing,” language local officials have used to describe their plans for the MPD.
The City Council cannot achieve its stated goal of defunding the MPD because the City Charter mandates that it fund the department relative to the population size of the city. However, the City Council is currently in the process of amending the City Charter to give itself the power to defund the police.
The 61% figure includes those who indicated that they only lean in support of the measure. However, even without these so-called “leaners,” the majority (56%) of respondents answered the question in the affirmative, according to the poll results.
A separate survey of 500 individuals conducted by the Center of the American Experiment also found that 56% of Twin Cities residents favor a plan to defund the police.
While the ACLU poll found that both white and black respondents supported the amendment to defund the police, a greater percentage of black survey participants (70%) answered in the affirmative. The ACLU said this is because black residents would be the ones “arguably most impacted by the potential change.”
Another 69% of those surveyed agreed with the statement that “policing as we know it is fundamentally flawed in Minneapolis,” and that the city needs to “take a completely different approach to public safety.”
“The majority of people in Minneapolis support the 2020 charter amendment and a complete overhaul of policing so that all people are truly safe and healthy across the entire city” said Elizer Darris, a Minnesota-based ACLU organizer.
“This poll confirms what much of the country is calling for: transformational change,” the ACLU said in a press release. “The charter amendment is only the first of many steps.”
However, not all Minnesotans hold law enforcement in such low regard.
“To politicians everywhere who are pushing to defund the police, my advice is to stop and read the room. Minnesotans are not with you, and it will have consequences for the city of Minneapolis,” said John Hinderaker, the president of the Center of the American Experiment.
According to the Center’s data, 85% of Minnesotans feel comfortable around their local police and trust that the police will act in the best interest of the general public.
50% of the ACLU’s survey respondents considered themselves to be liberal, while only 13% said they were conservative. The remaining group either identified as moderate (36%) or didn’t know where to place themselves politically (1%).
The apparent leftward bent of the study’s population may be the natural result of Minneapolis’s staunchly liberal citizenry. Minnesota is America’s second most liberal state, largely due to the Twin Cities, according to a study conducted by The Hill.