Minneapolis City Council Decides To Disband Police Force

The police brutality that caused George Floyd’s senseless death has given the Black Lives Matter movement more power and momentum than ever before. The protests that have swept the nation (and other countries!) in past weeks have forced the government, as well as other establishments, to identify and rectify the systemic racism and discrimination that is present within their institutions. Minneapolis, the hearth of these protests, has pledged to make a historic change; the Minneapolis city council has announced that it will “dismantle” and “disband” the police force responsible for the death of George Floyd.
The announcement came at a community-rally on June 7, 2020, and was well-received among city residents and abolitionists activists alike (the latter has long called for the disbanding of police forces and prisons across the nation). For such a large city to disband its police force truly gives the abolitionist activists stable ground to further establish their cause. The Minneapolis city council’s decision represents the intensity of the public’s opposition to the police department and its institutionalized discrimination. While this is the most extreme reaction to the pressure, the sentiment of defunding the police is present in large cities across the nation.

Minneapolis Police Brutality Protest

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Instead of a police force, the city council seeks to create an alternative model of safety that is community-led and run.
Nine members of the council declared their support for the dismantling of the police force; being that the number for a super-majority of the Minneapolis city council is 9/12, Mayor Jacob Frey, who had opposed the dismantling, cannot veto this decision. The three other members of the city council who did not declare support were generally supportive, said activists: the members were simply not ready to sign on just yet.
“In Minneapolis and in cities across the U.S., it is clear that our system of policing is not keeping our communities safe,” declared Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender, at the rally. “Our efforts at incremental reform have failed, period. Our commitment is to do what’s necessary to keep every single member of our community safe and to tell the truth: that the Minneapolis police are not doing that. Our commitment is to end policing as we know it and to recreate systems of public safety that actually keep us safe.”
Minneapolis Police Brutality Protest

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The Minneapolis city council has control over police budget and policy, and therefore can work to disband the department through serious budget cuts and city ordinances; this would render Mayor Frey’s power and oversight over the police force ineffective. The police themselves, who would be in opposition to this announcement, largely live outside Minneapolis — therefore, they could not even “vote out” these city council members. Right now, there is no political opposition that could stop the follow-through of this pledge.
This announcement is a testament to the will of the people who have fought, and continue to fight, for racial justice. The city of Minneapolis will no longer have the establishment that has a long-withstanding history of police brutality.
 
 
 

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