Minneapolis City Council majority pledges to dismantle the city’s police department in the wake of George Floyd’s death

The Minneapolis City Council pledged to dismantle its police on Sunday. Steel Brooks/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
  • Nine members of the Minneapolis City Council announced their support to dismantle the city’s police force at a rally on Sunday, giving them a veto-proof majority.
  • The announcement comes just shy of two weeks after George Floyd died at the hands of Minneapolis police.
  • On Friday, council member Steve Fletcher published an op-ed in Time magazine that outlined how the city would transition away from the need for police, though comprehensive plans have not yet been approved.
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Less than two weeks after George Floyd’s death, nine members of the Minneapolis City Council announced plans to disband the city’s police force.

The council president, Lisa Bender, made the announcement at Black Visions Collective and Reclaim the Block rally as part of the Black Lives Matter movement on Sunday.

Jacob frey minneapolis
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey leaves after coming out of his home to speak during a demonstration calling for the Minneapolis Police Department to be defunded on June 6, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

“We’re here because we hear you,” Bender said at the rally, according to The Appeal. “We are here today because George Floyd was killed by the Minneapolis Police. We are here because here in Minneapolis and in cities across the United States it is clear that our existing system of policing and public safety is not keeping our communities safe.”

“Our commitment is to do what is necessary to keep every single member of our community safe and to tell the truth that the Minneapolis Police are not doing that,” Bender added. “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.”

The council has a veto-proof majority in its decision according to the New York Times, though comprehensive plans have not yet been approved.

Members of the council have been exploring alternatives to police since Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25. Floyd, a black man, was knelt on by Chauvin for several minutes before he died.

Minneapolis protest
Protesters at a Target. J.D. Duggan

In addition, other Minneapolis city agencies like the Parks and Recreation department, Minneapolis public schools, and the University of Minneapolis, have already cut ties with the city’s police department, putting increased pressure on the city to take action.

Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza explained how a transition away from law enforcement would work on NBC’s Meet The Press on Sunday.

According to Garza, defunding the police typically involves realigning funds that usually go to police to causes in the community that need them – such as neighbourhood infrastructure or childcare – that can help prevent the need for law enforcement and better fix problems when they arise.

Council member Steve Fletcher also published an op-ed in Time on Friday that gave a preview of how the city of Minneapolis might function without the police.

“We can send a city response that that is appropriate to each situation and makes it better. We can resolve confusion over a $US20 grocery transaction without drawing a weapon or pulling out handcuffs,” Fletcher wrote.

The council made its announcement a day after Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey was booed at a rally for refusing to promise protesters that he would defund the city’s police.

On Sunday, Frey doubled down on his stance in a statement, according to a tweet from KARE 11’s Chris Hrapsky.

“I’ll work relentlessly with Chief Arradondo and alongside community toward deep, structural reform and addressing systematic racism in police culture,” Frey said in his statement. “And 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.”