Minneapolis Mayor Opposes City Council’s Pledge to Disband Police Force

Paula Liu
By Paula Liu
June 7, 2020USshare
Minneapolis Mayor Opposes City Council’s Pledge to Disband Police Force
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey speaks during a news conference in Minneapolis, Minn., on May 28, 2020. (Elizabeth Flores/Star Tribune via AP)

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said that he didn’t approve of the pledge by some city council members for disbanding the city’s police department on Sunday, a move that comes just as the state has launched a civil rights investigation after George Floyd’s death.

“I’ll work relentlessly with Chief [Medaria] Arradondo and alongside community toward deep, structural reform and addressing systemic racism in police culture,” Frey said. “We’re ready to dig in and enact more community-led, public safety strategies on behalf of our city. But, I do not support abolishing the Minneapolis Police Department,” Fox News reported.

Nine of the council’s 12 members appeared with activists at a rally in a city park Sunday afternoon and vowed to end policing as the city currently knows it. Council member Jeremiah Ellison promised that the council would “dismantle” the department, given their veto-proof majority.

“It is clear that our system of policing is not keeping our communities safe,” City Council President Lisa Bender said. “Our efforts at incremental reform have failed, period.”

Protesters have called on the government officials to stop increasing funds for the police and instead create legislatures that would hold police officers accountable for incidents similar to that of George Floyd, according to Fox News.

Ellison statement called for the dismantling of the Minneapolis Police Department following the death fo George Floyd.

This tweet got both the attention and the support of Bender, who wrote on her Twitter expressing her support of his plans, saying they planned to “dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a transformative new model of public safety.”

Bender went on to say she and the eight other council members that joined the rally are committed to ending the city’s relationship with the police force and “to end policing as we know it and recreate systems that actually keep us safe.”

Furthermore, in an interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Bender said that that she would be in favor of moving from a traditional police department towards a wider public safety department built towards preventing violence and offering services that are community-based. Bender stressed that these are her individual thoughts and they do not reflect that of the council.

Bender also added during the interview that this idea that she supported, in her opinion, would make it possible that the police-related work that used to be handled by the police would go to the social workers and medics.

However, the council had not made clear what their plans regarding “dismantling” the police department, and neither the council members nor the council president offered any further information.

Similarly, on Tuesday, Ward three Council member Steve Fletcher also addressed this issue on his Twitter by writing that he, along with the council will be looking into what it will take for them to “disband” the Minneapolis Police Department. In the same thread of tweets, Fletcher called the police department “irredeemably beyond reform.”

In the thread, Fletcher mentioned an alternative of starting fresh “with a community-oriented, non-violent public safety and outreach capacity.”

On the other hand, Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that Mychal Vlatkovich, Mayor Jacob Frey’s Spokesman, said that although the mayor supported “working with the community towards deep, structural reforms that address systemic racism in [the city’s] laws and in policing,” he did not support completely dismantling the police department in the city.

Epoch Times reporter Alan Cheung and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

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