Minneapolis City Council members announce their intention to disband the city’s police department. Hundreds of people rallied at a Minneapolis park to call for more changes to the city’s police department on Sunday. During the rally, 9 out of 13 Minneapolis City Council members stood up on the stage to announce their intent to disband the city’s police department, American media reports.
The announcement comes after council president Lisa Bender and member Jeremiah Ellison tweeted last week that they plan to dismantle the police department.
“Yes. We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a transformative new model of public safety.”
— Lisa Bender (@lisabendermpls) June 4, 2020
The alternative offer had to do with taking the department money and putting it toward community initiatives that strengthen safety, the media report points out. Concrete details about how to do the work of dismantling MPD were less defined, although council member Philippe Cunningham said the upcoming budget is a great place to start.
“We’re not going to tomorrow all the sudden have nobody for you to call for help. There will be thoughtful and intentional work that’s done, research engagement, learning that happens in a transition that will happen over time,” Cunningham said.
Many people have asked, in this visionary future with no police, “Who do you call when there’s no 911?” One of the speakers on Sunday said it would be family and neighbors.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey issued a statement Sunday addressing the need for reform but said he doesn’t support disbanding the police department.
“I’ll work relentlessly with Chief Medaria Arradondo and alongside community toward deep, structural reform and addressing systemic racism in police culture,” the mayor said. “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.”
On Friday, Frey signed a temporary restraining order (TRO) with the state of Minnesota, forcing immediate policing reforms for the MPD in the wake of George Floyd’s death on Memorial Day.
Some of those changes include banning the use of chokeholds by police and requiring officers to report and intervene if excessive force is being used by another officer.
The Minneapolis City Council approved the TRO during an emergency meeting Friday.
The city’s school district, the University of Minnesota and other agencies, organizations and businesses have severed ties with the department in the past 12 days since Floyd died while being arrested by four now-former police officers. All face criminal charges, and all are in custody.