Minneapolis City Council To Vote On Plan To Replace Police Department With ‘Public Safety Department’
TOPSHOT - A protester reacts standing in front of a burning building set on fire during a demonstration in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 29, 2020, over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white policeman kneeled on his neck for several minutes. - Violent protests erupted across the United States late on May 29 over the death of a handcuffed black man in police custody, with murder charges laid against the arresting Minneapolis officer failing to quell seething anger.

The Minneapolis City Council is trying, once again, to dismantle the city’s police force, this time voting on a plan to replace the city’s police department with a “public safety department” that would handle emergency calls with a “comprehensive public health approach.”

The Minneapolis City Council was blocked from abolishing the police force last year by the city’s charter commission, which pointed out that the city’s municipal charter requires it to have a law enforcement division. Armed with that knowledge, the “Yes 4 Minneapolis Committee” is pressing a measure that would give voters the option to amend the city’s charter to move towards a “public safety” department.

“The Minneapolis Policy and Government Oversight Committee, which is comprised of all 13 Minneapolis City Council members, approved the measure proposed by the advocacy group Yes 4 Minneapolis Committee in an 11-2 vote that will now be passed along to the general council for a vote,” per Fox News, citing local sources. “If the City Council votes in favor of the amendment, it would appear on the general election ballot for Minneapolis residents on Nov. 2.”

Fox 9 Minneapolis reports that the measure, if approved, “would give the voters power to replace the city police department” and “call for public safety to have a ‘comprehensive public health approach’ but does not explain what that means.”

“Under the plan, the police department would be replaced in the charter with a public safety department but doesn’t outline how the department will work or be structured,” the local outlet added.

The measure reads, simply, “Shall the Charter be amended to create a Department of Public Safety that employs a comprehensive public health approach with a range of strategies and personnel, including licensed peace officers as necessary, to fulfill responsibilities for community safety, with the general nature of the amendments being briefly indicated in the explanatory note below, which is made a part of this ballot?”

The Yes 4 Minneapolis Committee crowed about the vote in a tweet, claiming the “people of Minneapolis” had “spoken,” and rebuked the city’s charter commission, though the petition had just 20,000 signatures — around 5% of the Minneapolis population.

“Today’s vote confirms what we’ve known all along: The people of Minneapolis are excited and ready to participate in their democracy to keep themselves and one another safe,” the Yes 4 Minneapolis Committee tweeted, “and that a handful of unelected people continue attempts to derail these efforts.”

The Minneapolis City Council has persisted in their efforts to first “defund” and then “disband” the city’s law enforcement agencies, despite a shocking spike in violence that has the city on pace for a record-setting number of homicides according to KARE 11 Minneapolis. By June 1 of 2021, the city had already racked up twice the number of shootings as in 2020.

Crime has become so bad that a group of eight residents sued the city of Minneapolis to force the City Council to “refund” the police and expand the police department to the number of officers required by the city’s charter. Just last week, a Hennepin County judge ruled that Minneapolis must hire on additional police.

“According to the order, the city must fund a police force of at least .0017 employees per resident, which will equal around 730 sworn officers, or .2 percent of the city’s population following the publication of the 2020 census,” Newsweek reported. “The hiring of more police officers must be completed by June 30, 2022.”

Right now, the department is operating with around 100 fewer officers than the order requires.

One of the plaintiffs in the case blamed the rise in crime on the city’s fervor to “defund the police” and suggested that those pressing the city council to strip the city of law enforcement are “young” and may not live in the area.

When the announcement was made to defund the police … that just opened the doors to a level of mayhem where taboos were erased, standards were no longer acknowledged because only the cops could be wrong – a citizen couldn’t be wrong,” the petitioner said. “And so, the naivete of the leadership to not understand how the lawless community would exploit their announcement was maddening.”

“Our mantra is not ‘either/or,’ but ‘both/and,” he added. “Most of the protesters are young. They’re college students. They’re younger than college students. And they have a pretty limited framework for understanding how complex issues are.”

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