Minneapolis is considered one of the more ‘progressive’ cities in America and has led the ‘defund the police’ charge among the country’s left leaning cities.
But results from a Star TribuneMPR/KARE11 poll show that support to reduce the size of the police force is not that widespread. Similar results are found across the country in democrat-led cities with strong movements to reduce police presence on the streets where people on the street, not those in the hallowed and protected halls of city government, know what will happen if police presence is reduced.
— Oakdale Patch (@OakdalePatch) August 16, 2020
Perhaps more surprisingly, larger numbers of Black voters would prefer to see the police force maintained in their communities.
The poll found that only 40% of residents back this idea, while 44% of them oppose it. Others were undecided. Among Black residents in Minneapolis, opposition to cutting police officers reached 50%, while only 35% said they agree with such reductions.
But city residents overwhelmingly support shifting some police funding to social service programs, the poll found.
The findings are the first broad look at how the public views law enforcement in Minneapolis since the police killing of George Floyd in May, which swiftly prompted initiatives to overhaul the city’s police department.
A City Council proposal to replace the department with a new entity was blocked from appearing on the November ballot earlier this month by the city’s Charter Commission, which wants more time to study it.
Sam Brown, who is Black and lives in north Minneapolis, said he worries that fewer police officers would mean delayed responses to nonemergency 911 calls. He said he recently waited 45 minutes for an officer to arrive after being involved in a car accident, but no one came. If there is a robbery and no one was injured, he said, it could be a lengthy wait with a smaller force.
“It’s going to take them longer to get there and by then the perpetrator is gone,” said Brown, 59. But he added that he believes that officers need more training in identifying mental health and chemical dependency problems and de-escalating volatile situations.
Nearly half of those polled said they believe reducing the size of the police force would have a negative effect on public safety. Roughly a quarter thought it would have a positive effect, with the remainder saying they were not sure or that it would have no effect. Half of respondents said they feel crime has increased in the last few years.
The poll was conducted for the news organizations by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy, Inc., which surveyed 800 registered Minneapolis voters earlier last week, including 146 Black voters. In addition, 354 more interviews were conducted with Black registered voters in the city, for a total of 500. The margin of sampling error is 3.5% for the sample of 800 registered Minneapolis voters, and the margin of error for the sample of 500 Black Minneapolis registered voters is no more than 4.5 percentage points.
President Trump will campaign as the law and order option to keep communities safe.
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