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The Minneapolis City Council doubled down on their objective to dismantle the city’s police department and it seems Mayor Jacob Frey is powerless to stop them.
During a rally on Sunday, a veto-proof supermajority of council members emerged voicing support of a plan to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a community-oriented model for public safety. While criticism of the Department has been leveled previously, reformers and activists have now drummed up more support for the radical idea of ending it through a budget process following the death of George Floyd.
(Source: KARE 11)
“We’re here because we hear you,” Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender said Sunday at a rally in Powderhorn Park. “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 efforts at incremental reform have failed. Period.”
Black Visions Collective and Reclaim the Block members were joined by Bender and Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins, as well as Council Members Alondra Cano, Jeremiah Ellison, Steve Fletcher, Cam Gordon and Jeremy Schroeder in announcing their intentions to create a “new transformative model for cultivating safety.”
“It is clear that our system of policing is not keeping our communities safe,” Bender said.
“Our efforts at incremental reform have failed, period, she said, reiterating the commitment of council members “to end policing as we know it and recreate systems that actually keep us safe.”
Councilmember Cano said the council would “abolish the Minneapolis Police system as we know it.” Ellison, the son of state Attorney General Keith Ellison who publicly declared his support for Antifa last week, agreed, doubling down on remarks made on Twitter in which he claimed the end of the Minneapolis Police Department is “really past due.”
“All of that money is going to the police department and what do we have in return? Pain, trauma and hurt,” Councilmember Phillippe Cunningham said.
Councilman Fletcher pushed the narrative in an op-ed for Time, claiming that although the community has equated the idea of “safety” with a city police department, they “are now concluding that need not be the case.”
“Our city needs a public safety capacity that doesn’t fear our residents. That doesn’t need a gun at a community meeting. That considers itself part of our community. That doesn’t resort quickly to pepper spray when people are understandably angry. That doesn’t murder black people,” Fletcher wrote in the piece which suggested what the changes would like.
Twelve of the 13-member city council are part of the Democrat-Farmer-Labor Party, which has held the mayor’s seat in the city for 53 of the past 59 years. Sunday’s rally confirmed that a majority of them now fully back a plan ending the city’s relationship with the police, with the mayor effectively left unable to veto the move.
While the mayor’s office has “complete power” over the police department under the Minneapolis charter, Frey, who is also a member of the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party, was met with boos when he said he was not in favor of “the full abolition of police” during a rally on Saturday.
Groveling Minneapolis mayor shouted down, told to ‘go home’ when he won’t agree to defunding police https://t.co/FIulLYsvjs
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) June 7, 2020
Following Sunday’s rally, he vowed in a statement that he would work “alongside community toward deep, structural reform and addressing systemic racism in police culture,” but added that “I do not support abolishing the Minneapolis Police Department.”
U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar made it clear what side she was on in the fully Democrat-run city, tweeting from the event Sunday and applauding the “moral courage and clarity” from Bender.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) June 7, 2020
Omar’s Republican challenger, Lacy Johnson, fired back at the idea in a series of tweets on Sunday.
Thread: We are witnessing a profound mistake being made by the Minneapolis City Council.
They have a veto-proof majority that has vowed to disband the police department.
They have just told the citizens of CD5 they lack the leadership and skills to solve tough problems.
— Lacy Johnson (@LacyJohnsonMN) June 8, 2020
“These reckless actions will make our community far less safe and will lead to a significant decline in our economy,” Johnson tweeted.
Years will go by with a terrible implementation of the proposed new public safety system and citizens will suffer the consequences of government failure. @IlhanMN should be embarrassed that she is supporting such a rash and monumental decision.
— Lacy Johnson (@LacyJohnsonMN) June 8, 2020
Former Secret Service Agent Dan Bongino advised residents to “evacuate” the Minnesota city.
Protect yourself and your family and evacuate Minneapolis if you can. If you cannot, then keep your head on a swivel as the city descends into complete chaos. https://t.co/Moi5M9UuHe
— Dan Bongino (@dbongino) June 7, 2020
Anoka County Sheriff James Stuart also condemned the idea of defunding the police, warning in a Facebook post that the Minneapolis City Council will have to “choose to live with the consequences of their decisions.”
“We are one of many agencies who have no appetite for going back to their city to restore order again,” he wrote, “especially if their decision is to actively compromise the safety of the city.”
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