Nine of 12 Minneapolis city council members said they will “begin the process of ending the Minneapolis Police Department” and create a new model for the city.
Council President Lisa Bender and the following members stood on stage while the statement was read: Andrea Jenkins, Alondra Cano, Andrew Johnson, Cam Gordon, Phillippe Cunningham, Jeremiah Ellison, Jeremy Schroeder, and Steve Fletcher.
The decision was announced after George Floyd died in the custody of the Minneapolis police on May 25.
All four former officers involved have been charged. The person who pinned Floyd was charged with second-degree murder and the others with aiding and abetting murder.
“Decades of police reform have proved that the Minneapolis Police Department cannot be reformed, and will never be accountable for its action,” the statement said.
“We recognize that we don’t have all the answers about what a police-free future looks like, but our community does,” it continued. “We’re committed to engaging with every willing community member in the City of Minneapolis over the next year to identify what safety looks like for you.”
The group said they will be taking steps to end MPD through the budget process in the coming months.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey was jeered out of a protest on Saturday after he said, “I do not support the full abolition of the police department.”
Anoka County Sheriff James Stuart warned the city council other law enforcement agencies helped them quell riots but may not in the future.
“However, if they choose to eliminate their police department through defunding operations without a realistic plan, they must also choose to live with the consequences of their decisions,” Stuart wrote on Facebook.
“We are one of many agencies who have no appetite for going back to their city to restore order again; especially if their decision is to actively compromise the safety of the city.”
He continued: “Cooler heads who seek actual answers while working with their community will find realistic answers. Those who embrace impulsive actions must live with the consequences and I think we have all suffered enough from a variety of bad decisions.”
The exact process to dismantle the MPD is unclear.
State Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, suggested the legislature discuss the process before it advances
“Before the Minneapolis City Council defunds or disbands the Minneapolis Police Department, there needs to be State Legislative hearings on what the consequences of that would mean for our region/state,” Garofalo said in a statement.
“Legislators cannot sit by silently while a rogue city council drives our state into anarchy.”
The Center Square – Scott McClallen