COVID-19 Special Coverage
Minneapolis City Council pledges to defund police department
© WikiMedia (Fibonacci Blue)
Minneapolis City Council pledges to defund police department

Members of the Minneapolis City Council announced Sunday that a veto-proof majority of the Council is committed to dismantling the current system of policing in Minneapolis.

The announcement at a rally in Powderhorn Park came following several days of protests after George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer. Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender said:

It is clear that our system of policing is not keeping our community safe. … Our commitment is to end our city’s toxic relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department to end policing as we know it, and to recreate systems of public safety that actually keep us safe.

One-by-one several members of the city council stepped forward to voice their commitment to changing the system of policing in the Minneapolis. Council Member Alondra Cano said she is no longer a reformist and is someone, “who believes we should and can abolish our current Minneapolis police system.” Council Member Jeremiah Ellison said, “This council is going to dismantle this police department.”

While the City Council has made a strong pledge to change the system of policing, it will likely take a vote by the public to change the city’s charter, and there are some in the Minneapolis government who are not supportive of the abolition of the police department. On Saturday, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey was asked at a rally if he supported the abolition of the police department. He answered, “I do not support the full abolition of the police.” His statement was immediately followed by chants from the crowd of, “Go home, Jacob, go home!”

Protesters around the country are calling for the abolition of the current system of policing. The Minneapolis City Council is the first to announce its commitment to dismantling the current system. While there is still much to be done to implement a new system, the city where George Floyd was killed looks to be on a path to adopting a new system. City Council members said abolishing the current system will take a year of planning. During her speech, Council Member Cano asked for police who are still working to work with compassion. The abolition of the current policing system will likely require the public to vote on changes to the city’s charter.