Minneapolis to Dismantle Police Force Despite Mayor’s Opposition

Minneapolis will disband its Police Department.

On Sunday, nine members of the 12-person Minneapolis City Council pledged to dismantle the current police force and replace it with a new system of public safety.

“In Minneapolis and in cities across the U.S., it is clear that our system of policing is not keeping our communities safe,” Lisa Bender, the Minneapolis city council president, said at a community rally. “Our efforts at incremental reform have failed, period. Our commitment is to do what’s necessary to keep every single member of our community safe and to tell the truth: that the Minneapolis police are not doing that. Our commitment is to end policing as we know it and to recreate systems of public safety that actually keep us safe.”

Per The Guardian, activists said the three dissenting council members were broadly supportive of the effort, but were not ready to sign on.

This historic move comes after the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed black man who died on May 25 in Minneapolis after his neck was pinned to the ground by white police officer Derek Chauvin’s knee.

In the wake of Floyd’s killing, protests have erupted nationwide denouncing racial injustice while also demanding that states “defund the police” in response to years of police brutality.

On Saturday, Mayor Jacob Frey on Minneapolis was booed out of a protest after he said he does not believe in abolishing the police department.

Following his controversial remarks, protesters yelled “Go home, Jacob, go home!” and “Shame! Shame!” at Frey as he walked out of the rally.

The next day on Instagram, Frey seemingly referenced another incident where he says demonstrators showed up to his house, asking him to commit to abolishing the city’s police force.

Though he says he promises to work tirelessly “toward deep structural reforms to change policing,” Frey stands firm in his beliefs regarding the police department.

“Last night a group of protestors came to my home, asking me to commit to abolishing the police department,” Frey wrote on his page. “I told them the truth about where I stand. I’ll work relentlessly toward deep structural reforms to change policing, rethink our system, and directly address systemic racism. However, I do not support abolishing the department.”

Because a supermajority of the council voted in favor of the disbandment, Frey cannot override them.

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