Minneapolis City Council Members Announce Intent To Disband The Police Department

Minneapolis City Council members plan to ‘dismantle’ the city’s ‘toxic’ police department following the ‘murder’ of African-American man George Floyd who died after a white cop knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes aided by three other officers, sparking worldwide protests against police brutality.   

Nine of the council’s 12 members appeared at a rally in a city park Sunday afternoon and vowed to end policing as the city currently knows it.

The council members ended up standing before hundreds of people on a grassy hill and pledged to begin the process of taking apart the Police Department in its current form. 

Jeremiah Ellison, Minneapolis City Council member, announces at Powderhorn Park that it will dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department

Minneapolis City Council members have announced their intention to make radical changes in the city's police department

Minneapolis City Council members have announced their intention to make radical changes in the city’s police department

‘We’re here because we hear you. 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,’ Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender said Sunday at a special announcement held in a local park.

‘Our efforts at incremental reform have failed. Period.’ 

Council Member Jeremiah Ellison also promised that the council would ‘dismantle’ the police department entirely.

‘Our commitment is to end our city’s toxic relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department, to end policing as we know it, and to re-create systems of public safety that actually keep us safe,’ Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender said to KARE11

City Council members  have said they will invest in community-led safety initiatives instead of the police department. 

Nine of the council¿s 12 members appeared with activists at a rally in a city park on Sunday

Nine of the council’s 12 members appeared with activists at a rally in a city park on Sunday 

Hundreds were gathered to hear the city councillors make their announcement

Hundreds were gathered to hear the city councillors make their announcement 

The Minneapolis City Council released a statement regarding the intention to restructure 

Instragram user connormduffy posts a picture at Powderhorn Park as the Minneapolis City Council votes to abolish the Minneapolis Police Department after declaring it was unfixable

Instragram user connormduffy posts a picture at Powderhorn Park as the Minneapolis City Council votes to abolish the Minneapolis Police Department after declaring it was unfixable

Flowers, signs and balloons are left near a makeshift memorial to George Floyd near the spot where he died while in custody of the Minneapolis police.

Flowers, signs and balloons are left near a makeshift memorial to George Floyd near the spot where he died while in custody of the Minneapolis police.

Flames from a nearby fire illuminate protesters standing on a barricade in front of the Third Police Precinct in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during a protest over the death of George Floyd

Flames from a nearby fire illuminate protesters standing on a barricade in front of the Third Police Precinct in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during a protest over the death of George Floyd

The precinct, which police had abandoned, burned after a group of protesters pushed through barriers around the building, breaking windows and chanting slogans. A much larger crowd demonstrated as the building went up in flames

The precinct, which police had abandoned, burned after a group of protesters pushed through barriers around the building, breaking windows and chanting slogans. A much larger crowd demonstrated as the building went up in flames

Jeremiah Ellison, Minneapolis City Council member tweeted just as the it was announced the city will defund the Minneapolis Police Department

Jeremiah Ellison, Minneapolis City Council member tweeted just as the it was announced the city will defund the Minneapolis Police Department

‘Decades of police reform efforts have proved that the Minneapolis Police Department cannot be reformed, and will never be accountable for its action,’ read a statement by the council members.

‘We are here today to begin the process of ending the Minneapolis Police Department and creating a new transformative model for cultivating safety in our city.

‘We recognize that we don’t have all the answers about what a police-free future looks like, but our community does.

‘We’re committing to engaging with every willing community member in the City of Minneapolis over the next year to identify what safety looks like for everyone.

‘We’ll be taking intermediate steps towards ending the MPD through the budget process and other policy and budget decisions over the coming weeks and months.’

The council members who took part in the announcement included Cam Gordon, Steve Fletcher, Phillipe Cunningham, Jeremiah Ellison, Andrea Jenkins, Alondra Cano, Lisa Bender and Jeremy Schroeder. 

Rep. Ilhan Omar tweeted that she was present at the meeting community meeting. 

Alondra Cano, a City Council member, speaks during 'The Path Forward' meeting at Powderhorn Park on Sunday

Alondra Cano, a City Council member, speaks during ‘The Path Forward’ meeting at Powderhorn Park on Sunday

Andrea Jenkins, vice president of the Minneapolis City Council, speaks during a between Minneapolis City Council and community members

Andrea Jenkins, vice president of the Minneapolis City Council, speaks during a between Minneapolis City Council and community members 

Alondra Cano, a City Council member speaks. The focus of the meeting was the defunding of the Minneapolis Police Dept

Alondra Cano, a City Council member speaks. The focus of the meeting was the defunding of the Minneapolis Police Dept

Hundreds gathered in Powderhorn Park to hear what the council was going to propose

Hundreds gathered in Powderhorn Park to hear what the council was going to propose 

There was no hint of the trauma the city has experienced over the last few days during a sunny afternoon in the park Sunday

There was no hint of the trauma the city has experienced over the last few days during a sunny afternoon in the park Sunday

-Rory Wakemup holds an upside-down United States flag at 'The Path Forward' meeting

-Rory Wakemup holds an upside-down United States flag at ‘The Path Forward’ meeting

Rep. Ilhan Omar tweeted that she was present at the meeting community meeting

Rep. Ilhan Omar tweeted that she was present at the meeting community meeting

City Council members have said they will invest in community-led safety initiatives instead of the police department.

City Council members have said they will invest in community-led safety initiatives instead of the police department.

Minneapolis was the center of both violent and peaceful protests following the Memorial Day death of George Floyd. 

‘It shouldn’t have taken so much death to get us here,’ said Kandace Montgomery, the director of Black Vision at the rally. ‘We’re safer without armed, unaccountable patrols supported by the state hunting black people.’ 

Floyd, a black man in handcuffs, died after a white officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck, ignoring Floyd’s ‘I can’t breathe’ cries and holding it there even after Floyd stopped moving.

Community activists have criticized the department for years for what they say is a racist and brutal culture that resists change and had been pushing for a new model.

At another march Saturday during which leaders called for defunding the department, Verbena Dempster said she supported the idea.

‘I think, honestly, we’re too far past’ the chance for reform, Dempster told Minnesota Public Radio. ‘We just have to take down the whole system.’

Minneapolis Police officers stand in a line while facing protesters demonstrating against the death of George Floyd outside the 3rd Precinct Police Precinct in Minneapolis (file photo)

Minneapolis Police officers stand in a line while facing protesters demonstrating against the death of George Floyd outside the 3rd Precinct Police Precinct in Minneapolis (file photo)

Minneapolis Police spray protesters with pepper spray during a demonstration over the death of George Floyd. Members of the Minneapolis City Council announced Sunday that they intend to disband the city's police department

Minneapolis Police spray protesters with pepper spray during a demonstration over the death of George Floyd. Members of the Minneapolis City Council announced Sunday that they intend to disband the city’s police department

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (center) was booed out of a Black Lives Matter protest after refusing to defund the city's police department on Saturday, a position that has since shifted

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (center) was booed out of a Black Lives Matter protest after refusing to defund the city’s police department on Saturday, a position that has since shifted

Although no specific plans have yet been announced for the new ‘community model’ of policing in Minneapolis. the council have pledged to work with the community in drawing up something fresh and with consent according to the New York Times.

Protesters who were present at the rally held close to Powderhorn Lake agreed that it was a breakthrough that elected officials had committed to complete overhaul of policing.  

The complete remaking of the department is likely to unfold in coming months although the move to defund or abolish the Minneapolis department is far from assured, with a civil rights investigation likely to unfold over the next several months.

Across the country over the last week, protesters marched on city streets and voiced their demands to cut or abolish police departments altogether frequently chanting ‘defund the police’. 

'Our commitment is to end our city's toxic relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department, to end policing as we know it, and to re-create systems of public safety that actually keep us safe,' Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender, pictured, left, said. Council Member Jeremiah Ellison promised that the council would 'dismantle' the department

Council Member Jeremiah Ellison promised that the council would 'dismantle' the department

‘Our commitment is to end our city’s toxic relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department, to end policing as we know it, and to re-create systems of public safety that actually keep us safe,’ Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender, pictured, left, said. Council Member Jeremiah Ellison promised that the council would ‘dismantle’ the department

On Saturday, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey was been booed out of a Black Lives Matter demonstration after refusing to defund the city’s police department – as Rep. Ilhan Omar calls for it to be disbanded.  

Frey on Saturday proved to be at odds with activists fighting police brutality just two days after he sobbed uncontrollably at the foot of George Floyd‘s gold coffin during a memorial service. 

Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stopped short of backing Omar’s call to dismantle police departments. 

 The freshman congresswoman joined other top progressive Democrats on Friday in backing steep budget cuts to local police in the wake of Floyd‘s death.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey was booed by Black Lives Matter protesters during a demonstration Saturday in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey was booed by Black Lives Matter protesters during a demonstration Saturday in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey kneels in front of George Floyd's gold casket and sobs

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey kneels in front of George Floyd’s gold casket and sobs

‘I have been coming to grips with my own responsibility, my own failure in this,’ Frey said.

‘If you’re asking whether I’m for massive structural reform to revise a structurally racist system the answer is ‘yes.’ If you’re asking whether I will do everything possible to push back on the inherent inequities that are literally built into the architecture the answer is ‘yes,” said Frey.  

‘If you’re asking whether I’m willing to do everything I possibly can throughout the rest of my term to make sure that the police union, the police contract, the arbitration system, and some of these policies that have resulted in problems for specifically Black and Brown people and murder over series of generations, I’m all for that. 

‘I’m not for abolishing the entire police department, I will be honest about that,’ Frey said.

Frey’s handling of George Floyd’s death and the subsequent protests that have surged across Minneapolis has been under intense scrutiny. He later released a statement.  

‘I’ll work relentlessly with Chief Arradondo and alongside community toward deep, structural reform and addressing systemic racism in police culture. 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.’ 

Rep. Ilhan Omar (pictured): ''I will never cosign on funding a police department that continues to brutalize us and I will never stop saying, not only do we need dis-invest police but we need to completely dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department'

Rep. Ilhan Omar (pictured): ”I will never cosign on funding a police department that continues to brutalize us and I will never stop saying, not only do we need dis-invest police but we need to completely dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department’

At another protest on Saturday, Rep. Ilhan Omar declared ‘it’s time to disband the Minneapolis Police Department’.

‘I will never cosign on funding a police department that continues to brutalize us and I will never stop saying, not only do we need dis-invest police but we need to completely dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department,’ she said.

‘The Minneapolis Police Department is rotten to the root,’ Omar continued. ‘And so when we dismantle it we get rid of that cancer and we allow for something to rise. And that reimagining allows us to figure out what public safety looks like.’ 

The state of Minnesota launched a civil rights investigation of the department last week, and the first concrete changes came Friday when the city agreed to ban chokeholds and neck restraints.  

Derek Chauvin, 44, the officer filmed kneeling Floyd's neck during his arrest was a 19-year veteran of the force

Derek Chauvin, 44, the officer filmed kneeling on Floyd’s neck during his arrest was a 19-year veteran of the force. He faces murder charges in Floyd’s death

George Floyd was filmed two weeks ago on Monday begging the Minneapolis cop to stop and told him he could not breathe before he lost consciousness and later died

George Floyd was filmed two weeks ago on Monday begging the Minneapolis cop to stop and told him he could not breathe before he lost consciousness and later died

Former Minneapolis police officers (clockwise from top left) Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng booking photographs. Chauvin is now charged with second-degree murder, and his three fellow officers are charged with aiding and abetting

Former Minneapolis police officers (clockwise from top left) Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng booking photographs. Chauvin is now charged with second-degree murder, and his three fellow officers are charged with aiding and abetting

Disbanding an entire department has happened before. 

In 2012, with crime rampant in Camden, New Jersey, the city disbanded its police department and replaced it with a new force that covered Camden County. 

Compton, California, also took the same step in 2000, shifting its policing to Los Angeles County.

It was a step that then-Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department was considering for Ferguson, Missouri, after the death of Michael Brown. 

The city eventually reached an agreement short of that but one that required massive reforms overseen by a court-appointed mediator. 

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