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Minneapolis City Council Weighs “Dismantling” Police Department



Man holding a sign I can't breathe | Minneapolis City Council Weighs “Dismantling” Police Department | Featured

The city of Minneapolis is weighing a total disbanding and dismantling of its police department. This comes in response to the death of African American man George Floyd while in police custody.

A week of intense protests following Floyd’s death rocked the city, like many across the United States. As the location of the incident, Minneapolis has perhaps been the most affected. In response, all four police officers involved in his arrest face criminal charges and have been fired from the force.

Derek Chauvin, the officer who leaned his knee on Floyd’s neck, faces second-degree murder charges. Meanwhile, the other three officers face charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder. There is tremendous public support for a conviction, and early autopsy reports suggest that Chauvin was responsible for Floyd’s death.

While the officers may well see a conviction, the charges pale in comparison to what Minneapolis wants to see change in the city. The city council is offering the kind of dramatic changes that many are calling for.

“Transformative New Model of Public Safety”

The city council, led by Council President Lisa Bender, will take dramatic action to rectify the apparent flaws in the Minneapolis police force. While members of the council vary in their proposed changes, all are calling for some level of reform. The most dramatic call, made by some of the most powerful voices in the council, involves a total disbanding of the police force and rebuilding it from the ground up.

The main champion of this proposal is councilman Jeremiah Ellison, the son of the state’s attorney general.
“We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department,” Ellison tweeted yesterday. “And when we’re done, we’re not simply gonna glue it back together. We are going to dramatically rethink how we approach public safety and emergency response. It’s really past due.”

Ellison has the backing of several council members in his calls for dramatic action, including the council president. Shortly after his tweet, Bender published a tweet of her own. In it, she says the council would replace the police force with “a transformative new model of public safety.”

What exactly the council will replace the police force with remains unclear. Bender told media that she was in favor of a wider public safety department, rather than just a police force. Such a department would apply a more holistic response to public safety issues. For example, they would employ psychologists in response to certain situations.

Dismantling the police is certainly a bold response. However, the council may find the political environment amenable to such drastic action. If ever a city council were to receive popular support for dismantling its police force, that time is now.

‘Official Support’ for ANTIFA

Jeremiah Ellison is the most high-profile voice in the council calling for the dismantling of the Minneapolis Police Department. The young councilman has taken a number of bold positions since Floyd’s death, including proclaiming his support for the ANTIFA movement. The Trump administration recently declared the ANTIFA as a terrorist organization.

On May 31st, Ellison tweeted, “I hereby declare, officially, my support for ANTIFA. Unless someone can prove to me ANTIFA is behind the burning of black and immigrant-owned businesses in my ward, I’ll keep focusing on stopping the white power terrorist THE ARE ACTUALLY ATTACKING US!”

Regardless of whether the Minneapolis police department is ultimately dismantled, the killing of George Floyd will leave an indelible impact on Minneapolis politics and society. The conversation around race has taken on a new importance, and will no doubt have a dramatic impact on elections and political action across the country this year.

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  • Walter Welch says:

    Dismantling the Police Dept?
    You’ve got to be joking.
    Just because of a few bad apples?
    Who are you going to call when you have a problem?

  • A says:

    So…does this mean all the money will be spent on arming citizens with guns bullets and other home defense weapons like back in the wild west days? I wonder….

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