According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minneapolis City Council members Philippe Cunningham, Steve Fletcher and Jeremy Schroeder have put forward a proposal that would abolish the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with something called the Department of Public Safety.
This new office would employ police offers in a non-traditional way. However, beyond such vague statements, the council members have not explained how the new department would work or how it would deter crime and handle criminals.
The proposal comes as a result of the violent riots that gripped the city for months in 2020 in the wake of the death of George Floyd. These riots and protests have often called for defunding the police in the belief that the police systematically target Black people and that overpolicing somehow actually causes crime.
Abolish the Police?
Minneapolis City Council member Steve Fletcher said the following about the proposal to the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
“Minneapolis residents are imagining a comprehensive public safety approach that is more effective and more reflective of our values, and they are calling on the city to act. This charter amendment creates a structure that supports that vision and allows our city to innovate.”
Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey is not enthusiastic about the proposal. Months ago, the mayor was seen on video with crowds of Minneapolis protestors. When asked whether he would support defunding the police, Frey refused to support the measure and was loudly booed by the crowd.
If the new measure is enacted and the police department is disbanded, police officers would then have to answer to both the City Council and the mayor, a group of 14 people.
This latest move is only the most recent in a series made by the council against the police. Just last month, the council voted to take $8 million out of the Minneapolis Police Department’s budget for 2021.
Since the start of the year, there has already been a 250% increase in the number of gunshot wound victims as there were by this time last year. Rapes and robberies are also up by 22% and 59%, respectively.
Despite being aware of this, the City Council remains committed to defunding and possibly abolishing the Minneapolis Police Department.