On Friday the Minneapolis City Council unanimously pushed forward a proposal to alter the city charter to dismantle the police department after widespread condemnation of law enforcement over the death of George Floyd.
This is the first step, with 12-0 votes in favour, in a lengthy process with significant bureaucratic challenges to make the November ballot. The decision comes after a series of recent shootings in Minnesota’s largest city that have increased citizens’ concerns over the dismantling of police.
The proposed changes would replace the police department with a new “Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention”. The next step in the process is for the proposal to be formally reviewed by a policy committee and the city’s Charter Commission. At this point citizens and city officials can weigh in. Also Read– Audio of concerned dispatcher released by Minneapolis police in George Floyd case
“Commission will recognize the moment that we are in and take our offer of support, however we can provide it, to expedite this process so that voters have a chance to have their voices heard on this important question and this important moment in our city’s history,” Council President Lisa Bender said before the vote.
The Minneapolis police have come under heavy criticism after the killing of African American George Floyd by a white officer. This officer pinned Floyd by the neck while 3 other officers held him down, for over 8 minutes. Floyd was pronounced dead in the ambulance from “asphyxiation by sustained pressure”. The department has been criticized for not being able to change a racist and brutal culture.
The proposed amendment says the director of the new agency would have “non-law-enforcement experience in community safety services, including but not limited to public health and/or restorative justice approaches.”
Additionally, the new department “will have responsibility for public safety services prioritizing a holistic, public health-oriented approach,” according to the draft language posted on the internet.