And so it begins.
The Minneapolis City Council on Friday voted 12-0 in favor of changing the city’s charter to allow a vote in November that allows city residents to decide whether the city’s entire police department should be dismantled.
High-profile Democrats, like Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., has compared the police department to a cancer that needs to be removed to keep from spreading. Lisa Bender, the City Council president, famously said in an interview that when you call for police to report a burglary at your home it “comes from a place of privilege.”
Fox 9 reported that the proposal would remove minimum officer requirements in the city and replaces the department with the Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention. It would be led by a non-law enforcement figure, the Associated Press reported. Reports said that there has been an increase in gun violence in some sections of the city in recent weeks.
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Mayor Jacob Frey, the city’s liberal leader, has spoken out against dissolving the city’s police department. He even faced boos at an earlier protest over his position and chants urging him to “Go home, Jacob.”
“We need to entirely shift the culture that has for years failed black and brown people,” he told NPR. “We need a full structural revamp. But abolishing the police department? No, I think that’s a bad idea.”
Frey told KARE11 that Friday’s vote left him with more questions than answers.
“We need to be clear and precise about what exactly we’re going to do and when,” Frey said. “This amendment to our legal city charter does not provide clarity.”
He said that the charter doesn’t even mention whether police will be abolished or just changed, the report said.
Police departments and public officials have clashed in recent weeks in the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody. Many Democrats have called for defunding efforts and placed the blame squarely on law enforcement for what they see as “systemic racism.” Police deny the claim and say these politicians abandoned them to take political cover.
Brian Peters, the executive director of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, “Their proposal, in the midst of a drastic increase of violent gun crimes, is an unserious and disingenuous attempt to satisfy small political factions without providing real resources to address and prevent crime from happening in the city.”