the Minneapolis City Hall Today, he will vote on a proposal to change the city statute to allow the removal of the city police department. It is a measure supported by the majority of the council after George Floyddeath, but far from assured, reports Amy Forliti to the Associated Press
Voting is just one step in a process that faces significant bureaucratic hurdles to get to the November ballot, where city voters will have the last word.
The Minneapolis force has been under heavy pressure since Floyd was assassinated on May 25, sparking a worldwide wave of protests against Black Lives Matter racism. Local activists have long accused the department of failing to change a brutal and racist culture, and earlier this month, the majority of the council proclaimed their support for dismantling the department.
Doing so would first require amending the city statute. The draft language of the amendment posted online would replace the department with a Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention, “which will be responsible for public safety services that prioritize a holistic approach to public health.”
“It is time to make a structural change” Board Member Steve Fletcher he told AP. “It is time to start from scratch and reinvent the public security aspect.”
Fletcher said that according to the new agency, when someone calls 911, there will always be an appropriate response, including the option of a response from employees authorized to use force. But he said the vast majority of calls that police officers currently receive will be answered by employees with different backgrounds.
The proposed amendment is expected to pass on Friday, but that’s only a first step. It then goes to a policy committee and the City Charter Commission for formal review. The commission’s recommendation does not bind the board, but it takes time.
Barry Clegg, president of the Charter Commission, said the process feels rushed.
“As I understand it, they are saying, ‘We are going to have this new department. We still don’t know what it will look like. We will not implement this for a year, we will solve it, ”said Clegg. “Anyway, I would prefer that we solve it first and then vote.”
For his part, Mayor Jacob Frey he does not support the abolition of the department, a position that booed him off the street by activists who demonstrated outside his home after Floyd’s death and demanded to know where he was.
Frey expressed concern about the proposed amendment as currently drafted, even if the change would completely eliminate the police or allow a future police presence.
“There is a significant lack of clarity. And if I see a lack of clarity, so are our constituents, “said Frey, who said he supports profound structural change in the existing department.