Veto-Proof Minneapolis City Council Majority Vows to Disband Police Department Amid Protests

A majority of the Minneapolis City Council vowed to disband the city’s police department amid protests over the killing of George Floyd, The Appeal reports.

At least nine members of the 12-person council plan to support a plan to dismantle the police department and reinvest in social services instead.

“We’re here because we hear you. We are here today because George Floyd was killed by the Minneapolis Police. We are here because here in Minneapolis and in cities across the United States it is clear that our existing system of policing and public safety is not keeping our communities safe,” said Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender. “Our efforts at incremental reform have failed. Period.”

The announcement came after Minneapolis Public Schools, the University of Minneapolis, and Minneapolis Parks and Recreation cut ties with the police department.

Mayor opposes:

The announcement came one day after Mayor Jacob Frey told a group of protesters that he opposed defunding the police department. Protesters booed the mayor and chased him off. The New York Times called the incident a “humiliation on a scale almost unimaginable outside of cinema or nightmare.”

Frey has supported a number of police reforms since taking office in 2018 but has also been criticized for supporting increases to the department’s budget while failing to invest in community programs.

“MPD’s record for solving serious crimes in the city is consistently low,” The Appeal reported. “For example, in 2019, Minneapolis police only cleared 56 percent of cases in which a person was killed. For rapes, the police department’s solve rate is abysmally low. In 2018, their clearance rate for rape was just 22 percent. In other words, four out of every five rapes go unsolved in Minneapolis. Further casting doubt on the department’s commitment to solving sexual assaults, MPD announced last year the discovery of 1,700 untested rape kits spanning 30 years, which officials said had been misplaced.”

NYC to cut police funding:

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also announced on Sunday that the city would shift funding away from the police department to social services, though he offered few specifics.

“People did not protest for the sake of protest. They protest to achieve change, and now we must deliver that change,” he told reporters.

Along with cutting funding to the police, de Blasio also called for shifting street vendor enforcement to a civilian agency, creating community liasons to work with police, and repealing a law that bars the release of police disciplinary records.

“People from the community, civilians deeply steeped in their communities with the ability to bring the concerns of the community to the highest levels of the NYPD, to bring back answers including the status on disciplinary cases and changes in policing that needs to be done to allow better policing, fairer policing,” de Blasio said.


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