Minneapolis council puts plan to abolish police in motion

Minneapolis Uprising by Tony Webster is licensed under Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minneapolis City Council votes Friday on a proposal to change the city charter to allow elimination of the city’s police department, a radical move supported by a majority of the council after George Floyd’s death but far from assured.

The vote is one step in a process that faces significant bureaucratic obstacles to make the November ballot, where the city’s voters would have the final say. And it comes amid a spate of recent shootings in Minnesota’s largest city that
have heightened many citizens’ concerns about talk of dismantling the department.

The Minneapolis force has come under heavy pressure since Floyd, a Black man in handcuffs, died May 25 after a police officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes. Activists had long accused the department of being unable to change a racist and brutal culture, and earlier this month, a majority of the council proclaimed support for dismantling the department.

Doing so would first require amending the city charter. Draft language of the amendment posted online would replace the department with a Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention, “which will have responsibility for public safety services prioritizing a holistic, public health-oriented approach.”