The Minneapolis City Council on Sunday voted to disband its police department and invest in community-based public safety programs following calls from activists to ‘defund the police,’ in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.
- City Council President Lisa Bender, along with a majority of council members that cannot be vetoed by Mayor Jacob Frey, announced a plan to “end our city’s toxic relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department.”
- “We’re here because we hear you. We are here today because George Floyd was killed by the Minneapolis Police,” Bender declared. “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.”
- “Our efforts at incremental reform have failed. Period,” she added.
- Bender said that the council would start a conversation with the community about what the new “community-led” public safety program will entail.
- The police department had already lost much of its support from the community, with key partners including Minneapolis Public Schools, the University of Minnesota and Minneapolis Parks and Recreation severing ties.
- The move comes as protesters and activists at protests across the country have been calling for their cities to “defund the police,” declaring reform too piecemeal to achieve the desired results.
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