As chants of defund the police continue around the nation in the anti-racism protests stirred by the death of George Floyd, the Minneapolis City Council has voted unanimously to actually abolish the police department. Minneapolis is the city where Floyd was murdered.
The city council’s 12-0 vote marks the beginning of a long bureaucratic process that will eventually be decided by the voters when they choose the fate of their police department in the poll booths in November.
For many activists and protestors who crowded the streets in Minneapolis and other major cities across the US and even in other countries, the decision is considered a momentous victory for their moment. On the other hand, the local police force and union are likely to resist the decision.
With today’s decision, the amendment will now be considered by a committee and the local government. During this legal review and evaluation process, everyone, including regular citizens, are invited to share their thoughts on the amendment.
Lisa Bender, who head the council, urged the committee to rise up to the moment and realize what the protestors in the streets are asking for. Bender also expressed her desires for the process to be hurried up so that the proposal can be voted on by the voters come November.
The death of Floyd while under custody by former city police officer Derek Chauvin and his team has sparked one of the largest protests across the states. An increasing number of activists argued that the police can’t possibly reform itself and thus needed to be recreated.
While this call would have been considered radical and preposterous just a few months ago, the force and tenacity with which protestors asked for it changed the minds of the local council.
In particular, the City Charter which mentions the police department has to be amended. The amendment that the council passed called for the dismantling of the police department and a creation of the Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention.
It is essentially what the calls of defund the police asked for, as the new department will be much more focused on a holistic approach rather than a law enforcement organization.
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