In a historic speech, nine out of twelve members of the Minneapolis City Council have declared their support for disbanding and dismantling the Minneapolis Police Department at a rally in support of George Floyd, Sunday afternoon in Powderhorn Park.
The Council members stated that the police department can’t be reformed and must be entirely dismantled.
“Decades of police reform efforts have proved that the Minneapolis Police Department cannot be reformed, and will never be accountable for its action,’ read a statement by the council members.
We are here today to begin the process of ending the Minneapolis Police Department and creating a new transformative model for cultivating safety in our city.
We recognize that we don’t have all the answers about what a police-free future looks like, but our community does.
We’re committing to engaging with every willing community member in the City of Minneapolis over the next year to identify what safety looks like for everyone.
We’ll be taking intermediate steps towards ending the MPD through the budget process and other policy and budget decisions over the coming weeks and months.”
“Our commitment is to end our city’s toxic relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department, to end policing as we know it, and to re-create systems of public safety that actually keep us safe,” Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender said to KARE11.
City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins was joined on stage alongside her fellow council members — Alondra Cano, Philippe Cunningham, Jeremiah Ellison, Steve Fletcher, Cam Gordon, Andrew Johnson, and Jeremy Schroeder at the end of the rally. The Council then announced its intent to end the Minneapolis Police Department by cutting its budget.
“This council is going to dismantle this police department,” Ellison said. Alondra Cano who represents the 9th Ward replied, “we are going to create a fear-free future where every life is truly protected and respected.”
Funds for the police department would then be diverted to a public safety model which is still being developed.
“We have a paradigm for safety that is rooted in community and justice. We have seen it the last two weeks, Cunningham said. “The reality is that people have been doing this work for decades and not being paid. We have poured that money into the police department and where has it gotten us?”
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey condemned the move stating he did not support ending the Minneapolis Police Department.
“I’ll work relentlessly with Chief (Medaria) Arradondo and alongside community toward deep, structural reform and addressing systemic racism in police culture. And we’re ready to dig in and enact more community-led, public safety strategies on behalf of our city. But I do not support abolishing the Minneapolis Police Department,” Frey said in a statement.
Minneapolis isn't the only city there is a nationwide push to dismantle, defund and end police departments gaining steam as a result of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers. For example, a New York councilman has called for a $1bn divestment from the NYPD. In Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC, San Francisco, and other cities, local policymakers have started expressing support for some form of defunding or opposing police budget increases.
Lawmakers in Congress have also begun a bipartisan push to defund the police and shut down a Pentagon program that transfers military weaponry to local law enforcement departments. Senators Rand Paul and Brian Schatz Introduced the Stop Militarizing Our Law Enforcement Act, which aims to restrict military weaponry from police departments by adding an amendment in the annual defense policy bill.
We’ve been doing this one years. Happy to help.
— Doug Stafford (@dougstafford) June 1, 2020
Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza recently told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that growing calls to "defund the police" are not about eliminating police departments, but rather about reinvesting funds toward "the resources that our communities need."
George Floyd was murdered when former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck and other officers assisted holding Floyd down or just watched, all officers involved have since been charged.
Protests have erupted across the country for almost two weeks as protesters have voiced their concern for African American lives and the overall issue of police brutality.