A group of Minneapolis council members announced their plans to defund the police during a protest against police brutality and racism following the murder of George Floyd by four Minneapolis police officers.
The New York Post reported, “nine [out of 12] councilmembers,who form a veto-proof majority, committed to de-funding the department and moving toward a community-based public safety model during a rally at the city’s Powderhorn Park.”
“It is clear that our system of policing is not keeping our communities safe,” council president Lisa Bender told the crowd, according to Fox9. “Our efforts at incremental reform have failed, period. It’s our commitment to end policing as we know it, and recreate systems of public safety that actually keep us safe.”
This would be the first time a major city completely defunded its police department. The city of more than 425,000 residents has an active police force of 800 sworn officers.
According to NeighborhoodScout, Minneapolis has a safety score of 4, with 100 being the most safe. Minneapolis is less safe than 96% of other cities in the United States.
The city’s violent and property crime rate is almost 50 per 1,000 residents, twice the national average.
In a statement, the council said it is “taking intermediate steps toward ending the MPD through the budget process and other budget and policy decisions over the coming weeks and months.”
Bender said she’s in favor of replacing the police department “with a transformative new model of public safety.” Councilmember Jeremiah Ellison took a less filtered stance, saying “we are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department.”
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Bender “would support shifting from a traditional police department to a wider public safety department oriented toward violence prevention and community-based services.”
“In that kind of scenario, it’s possible that social workers or medics could respond to some calls now being handled by police.” No plan was mentioned for situations involving active acts of violence. She is hoping to make this change over several years, but voting on the plan could happen as early as Friday.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey [D] was not as enthused, saying “I’m not for abolishing the entire police department, I will be honest about that.” He was swiftly booed by protestors.