MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minneapolis City Council has taken another step in the process toward dismantling the city’s police department, following the death of George Floyd.
An ordinance has been introduced to remove the requirement for a police department from the city charter. The vote was unanimous, 12-0.
“We have committed to a community engagement process which is only just beginning. This vote, if it’s on the ballot in November, as I hope it is, gives the voters a chance to check in in the middle of that engagement process to tell us we are on the right track. I believe that’s the right thing for us to do, put it to the voters of Minneapolis to make this change,” council member Steve Fletcher said.
The charter amendment calls instead for “a department of community safety and violence prevention.” It also includes a provision for licensed law enforcement officers.
“As a charter department, the director would be nominated by the Mayor and approved by the City Council. The director would have non-law enforcement experience in community safety services, including but not limited to public health and/or restorative justice approaches,” the council reported in a press release.
The ordinance was reported to be authored by council members Jeremiah Ellison, Alondra Cano, Cam Gordon, Steve Fletcher and Council President Lisa Bender. Click here to read the full text of the amendment.
The council seeks community input on how the system would respond to non-violent incidents, and after a lengthy legislative process, the charter amendment would go to a city-wide vote in November.
“We can change the name of public safety, the makeup, but until we really address racism, nothing is going to change,” council vice-president Andrea Jenkins said.
The Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis responded, saying the following:
“Public safety is a primary role of city government and the politicians in charge of the Minneapolis City Council are not putting the safety of residents and visitors to the city at the core of their actions. This charter amendment fails to clarify questions about what replaces the police department, how it will work, and what actual steps will be done to address and prevent crime.
“It is irresponsible and a disservice to all Minneapolis residents to move forward without more clarity about what comes next. The members of the Minneapolis Police Department are committed to serve with honor and integrity, and stand ready to work with city leaders to improve community safety and trust, but this proposal leaves too many essential questions unanswered.
“Politicians are good at making promises, but not at following through on them, and voters should be wary of any promises that delivered by the City Council about how they will figure it out when and if the charter amendment passes.”
Source: CBS Minnesota