Amid the calls across the United States to “defund the police” in response to the death of George Floyd, Minneapolis City Council members have pledged to dismantle the US city’s Police Department.
Nine of the council’s 12 members appeared at a rally in a city park on Sunday afternoon, just blocks from where Mr Floyd was killed, and vowed to end the current system of policing in the city.
The Minneapolis Police Department has long been accused of racism, even before the death of Mr Floyd, a crime four former Minneapolis police officers have since been charged over.
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“Decades of police reform efforts have proved that the Minneapolis police department cannot be reformed, and will never be accountable for its actions,” the council members said, in a statement that they read off piece by piece.
“Our commitment is to do what is necessary to keep every single member of our community safe and to tell the truth that the Minneapolis Police are not doing that,” City Council President Lisa Bender said.
“Our commitment is to end our city’s toxic relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department, to end policing as we know it, and to recreate systems of public safety that actually keep us safe.”
“It is your fight that has got us to this point, so not one moment of silence for those who have died,” Councillor Jeremiah Ellison told the crowd while standing on a stage emblazoned with a sign saying “Defund police”.
Calls by some to defund or abolish police departments have grown in the wake of Floyd’s death and nationwide protests against police brutality — not just in Minneapolis, but right across the United States.
It remains unclear just what the future system will look like. However, the Minneapolis City Council has plans to establish a discourse with the community on what a “community-led” system will look like moving forward.
There have been suggestions it could be better shared among experts in certain fields, like sending mental health professionals during mental health crises, fire department EMTs for opioid overdose calls, and the use of the city’s parking enforcement team for traffic.
Today, #Minneapolis City Council members formally announced their commitment to end the MPD and create a new transformative model of public safety.
Here is their statement: pic.twitter.com/0jAE8YKQjf
— Local Progress (@LocalProgress) June 7, 2020