Anti-police activists in Minneapolis, Minnesota, are declaring a win in the battle to defund and disband the city’s police department after plans to re-open the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd precinct headquarters — even temporarily — fell through last week.
The MPD’s 3rd Precinct headquarters famously went up in flames back in May after activists, protesting the death of George Floyd while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department, began rioting, leaving the building and much of the surrounding neighborhood in ashes.
Records, obtained by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, showed that Minneapolis officials, concerned that the rioting could result in a loss of life, sacrificed the 3rd precinct building to the riots. After MPD abandoned the building to protect the safety of their officers, upper level state officials, called in to help make decisions on how and whether to protect the neighborhood, dithered on deploying the Minnesota National Guard, leaving much of the area unprotected.
“Records recently released by the city of Minneapolis document the decisions within City Hall and the Capitol that led to Mayor Jacob Frey’s order to abandon the building,” the outlet reported in August. “The mayor said protecting the building wasn’t worth sacrificing another life. But Frey and Gov. Tim Walz have traded accusations over why a mission to deploy the National Guard was delayed until after the Third Precinct was lost.”
Rebuilding the 3rd precinct headquarters, Minneapolis officials estimate, could cost $1.2 million, and they were seeking a temporary home for the MPD — a mission made more critical by a sudden spike in violence and an accompanying spike in homicides, centered in and around the city’s 3rd precinct.
Last week, that mission fell through, the local CBS outlet reported.
“The City of Minneapolis says a plan to temporarily relocate the police department’s 3rd Precinct to a warehouse has been dropped,” CBS reported. “According to city officials, Imagine Express and the city have been in ongoing negotiations over a lease agreement at 2633 Minnehaha Ave., but the two parties reached an impasse in the negotiations.”
The city was left with few options, and the 3rd precinct is now working out of the Minneapolis Convention Center.
“At a Minneapolis City Council meeting Wednesday, the city coordinator reported that there are no other properties identified as a temporary site, but there is a list of possible properties. It’s also possible that the city will spread the temporary precinct over multiple properties and leases,” CBS said. “The city will also possibly explore locations outside of the 3rd Precinct.”
Although neighborhood residents already concerned about the rise in crime were left disappointed, anti-police activists in Minneapolis hailed the situation as a victory.
“I think we’re celebrating this as a victory, and making it very clear to our elected leaders that you need to move forward with the process that you promised in June,” one activist told CBS. “We do not want to see any movement on re-opening this precinct.”
“Why go with MPD as it is without any reconciliation or restorative process? Let’s move away from that and use this as an opportunity to build that new model public and community safety,” she added.
Minneapolis officials assured them that work is proceeding on a plan to defund and disband Minneapolis police but that officers need a headquarters where they can receive calls.