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After days of deliberating over how to respond to the killing of George Floyd, members of the Minneapolis City Council announced plans Friday to seek approval from the public to rewrite the city’s charter so that they can formally abolish the Minneapolis Police Department.
“Five of the 12 council members said Friday that they’ll formally introduce a proposal later this month to remove the charter’s requirement that the city maintain a police department and fund a minimum number of officers. Voters would have to approve the change if the proposal makes it onto the November ballot,” the Associated Press reported.
However, council member Jeremiah Ellison assured reporters that the police won’t immediately be eliminated if and when the amendment passes — that it’ll initially be designed simply to help bolster the conversation.
“Without it, we can’t actually have an earnest yearlong conversation with community that will mean anything,” he said. “And by making this change, it doesn’t eliminate the police. … Until we have an emergency response system that is ready to deploy, we’re going to have police in its place.”
Today we began the process to ask the people of Minneapolis through a ballot question in November to end the current policing system and establish a new charter department that provides for community safety and violence prevention.#novballot https://t.co/qt0PuHruwM
— Council Member Alondra Cano, City of Minneapolis (@MplsWard9) June 12, 2020
Minneapolis’ charter currently requires the City Council to “fund a police force of at least 0.0017 employees per resident, and provide for those employees’ compensation.”
The council also voted unanimously Friday to launch a yearlong process “to create a transformative new model of cultivating safety in our city” to replace the city’s current system of government-based policing.
The makeup of this new model/system will focus on community-based policing and be designed based on the interests of everybody in Minneapolis save seemingly for white people.
“The City Council will engage with every willing community member in Minneapolis, centering the voices of black people, American Indian people, people of color, immigrants, victims of harm, and other stakeholders who have been historically marginalized or under-served by our present system,” the resolution reads. “Together, we will identify what safety looks like for everyone.”
View the full resolution below:
“We acknowledge that the current system is not reformable — that we would like to end the current policing system as we know it,” council member Alondra Cano reportedly said in a statement.
“Today’s unanimous City Council resolution advances our shared commitment to transformative change in how Minneapolis approaches public safety so that every member of our community can be truly safe,” City Council President Lisa Bender reportedly added.
“As we respond to demands for immediate action to reduce police violence and support community safety, we will invite our community to help shape long-term transformative change, centering the voices of those most impacted by community violence and police violence.”
Will any of these plans actually work, though? Critics have already bubbled up to question some of the premises behind this move.
For instance, Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk noted in a tweet that it was this exact sort of community-based policing that led to the disturbing death of Ahmaud Arbery in George four months ago.
The Minneapolis City Council just unanimously passed a resolution to replace police with a “community-led public safety system”
Isn’t “community policing” gone wrong what led to the death of Ahmaud Arbery?
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) June 12, 2020
Ahmaud was gunned down by two local vigilantes who’d reportedly been purposefully recruited by the police to keep tabs on a nearby property that’d been experiencing thefts.
“Gregory McMichael, one of Ahmaud Arbery’s alleged murderers, was a point person for cops just months before the killing … because we’ve learned police told at least one neighbor if there was a trespass, he should call McMichael and not them,” TMZ confirmed last month.
“According to text messages between an officer of the Glynn County Police Department and Larry English, the owner of the home under construction where Ahmaud’s alleged killers claim he was trespassing, police told English to call Greg instead of cops whenever Larry needed assistance.”
Obviously, so-called community-based policing isn’t as error-proof as the Minneapolis City Council seems to think.
In fact, vigilante justice rarely works out, because vigilante justice lacks due process.
Case in point: “After one person was raped, four men attempted to do justice, as they saw it. They set upon their suspect. One or more of them seized him, beat him, stripped him naked, violated him with the handle of a toilet plunger, and poured a bucket of urine over his head. He was 17 years old. And he was innocent,” the Toledo Blade reported in 2016.
The four perpetrators were sentenced that year to “many years in prison.”
The case was “the reason we don’t have vigilante justice,” Judge Dean Mandros reportedly said while sentencing the fourth defendant.
“Through misidentification, this victim was thought to be the perpetrator and … you decided to take matters into your own hands, and you accused someone who turned out to absolutely not be involved in any way.”
The question, therefore, is, once the Minneapolis Police Department is formally abolished and replaced with some community-based system lacking in the strict edicts that come with real policing, what’s to stop this from happening there?
“Community-led public safety system”
Call it for what it is: vigilantism.
Goodbye, Minneapolis. You’re going to burn. As much as everyone adores Batman, that type of successful vigilante is fictional for a reason. https://t.co/dzPjDedhId
— MaveriKat (@MaveriKat) June 12, 2020
Vigilante justice; the act of enacting perceived justice by citizens without legal authority or training. Like George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, community led public safety. These folks in Minneapolis are sooo smart?
— Patrick Norton (@Tao4mind123) June 13, 2020
This will lead to vigilante justice. What is Minneapolis going to do when the criminals they pander to end up dead in the streets because citizen justice decides what they are providing is absolute dog shit?
— Bane (@Bane_Rises) June 12, 2020
Not that I planned a trip to Minneapolis before but I certainly won’t be considering it ever. Will be entertaining to see how the system “evolves” (vigilante or total mayhem). Regardless, crime is going to sky rocket.
— Wes Glassford (@rok4d) June 12, 2020
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