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CNN’s Wolf Blitzer grilled Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender and Vice President Andrea Jenkins late on Monday afternoon over their city’s push to defund and dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department and specifically pressed on how they would stop someone who was going around killing people.
Blitzer began by pressing Bender on what it means “to dismantle the Minneapolis police department,” to which Bender responded in part by saying, “our community is ready to re-imagine public safety from the ground up to think holistically and to make sure every single member of our community is safe.”
Moments later, Blitzer pressed Bender on how Minneapolis would be able to stop a mass killer if the city does not have police.
“What happens if there is a criminal out there with a gun and starts shooting people?” Blitzer asked. “Who will respond if there’s no police force?”
“Look, it is our top priority to keep every single member of our community safe, and if you look back at the last 150 years of our police department it is becoming increasingly clear that that model of policing isn’t working. So we need to invite in our whole community,” Bender responded. “The nine members of the city council that came from every corner of our city to stand together to make this commitment, we don’t have all the answers and what we committed to was a community process to help re-imagine public safety, so yes, we still have a police department in Minneapolis today.”
“I hope it won’t take 150 years to get to that looking forward, that next solution, but we have a lot of wisdom in our community and we have invested in community-based safety strategies,” Bender continued. “We did an analysis of all of the reasons people call 911 in our city to look at ways we can have an appropriate response, so we’ve laid the groundwork and in many ways this will be incremental change over many years.”
Blitzer: "What happens if there's a criminal out there with a gun and starts shooting people?"
Minneapolis City Council President dismisses those concerns or hypothetical because "it is becoming increasingly clear that that model of policing isn't working." pic.twitter.com/mQpUkkyCi4
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) June 8, 2020
Blitzer again pressed Bender several moments later, asking, “So, at least for the time being, there will continue to be a much smaller, much more limited Minneapolis police department, but it wouldn’t be completely dismantled. Lisa, is that what I’m hearing?”
“You know, I think, again, community trust in this existing department is so low that there is an urgent need for change now and we have a state action and the human rights department took against our police department for patterns of racial discrimination,” Bender responded. “The city council has agreed to fully cooperate with that and do what we can to use those tools. We adopted a temporary restraining order that put more controls in place for how police are responding to the protests in our streets right now. So there’s clear need for urgent change and as one of my colleagues said, it’s clear that we need to dismantle this department.”
“What comes back in its place is what we need to hear from our community and so when we stood together on Sunday we committed to a year-long process to invite everyone in and to hear what people are imagining for public safety and we mean that,” Bender concluded. “We need to hear from our community before we make any change and any of those incremental changes, budget hearings, charter amendments, those all have public process built into them and maybe even on the ballot for the voters themselves to decide.”
Wolf gave them another chance to respond to the question, but both the Minneapolis City Council President and Vice President refused to say they would ensure their citizens would be aided in that scenario.
In other words, RIP to you! If you die, you die! pic.twitter.com/PRJIRqogkQ
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) June 8, 2020
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