Minneapolis will vote on the fate of the Police Department after George Floyd

Council members stand shoulder to shoulder in a city park lined with capital letters that read “Defended Police.”

A few days ago, George Floyd was Murder by Minneapolis Police Officer A few blocks away, mass protests across the country. Now hundreds of protesters had gathered in the park. They wanted justice. They wanted accountability. They wanted reform.

“We should and can dismantle our current Minneapolis police system,” councilwoman Alondra Cano said at the time.

On Tuesday, more than a year after Floyd’s death, voters in Minneapolis will decide whether to replace the city’s beleaguered police department with the Department of Public Safety, an effort that should pass, similarly across cities. can lead to measures. Country.

If voters approve, the police department and its chief’s office would be removed from the city’s charter and the minimum funding requirement would be abolished.

The new department, which may still include police officers, would be headed by a commissioner nominated by the mayor and appointed by the city council.

The language of the ballot did not elaborate on what the new department would do or specifically how it would function. Many of these questions will be answered by the mayor and city council if the measure is passed. Funding for the department would still come from the city, with the total being determined, as it is now, by elected city officials.

For months, residents of Minneapolis, where violent crimes have recently increased, have been struggling to support Question 2.

Most here agree that the police need to change — it’s impossible to watch a video of Floyd’s last breath and think otherwise, critics say — but they’re divided on how that should happen, especially After nationwide demonstrations, which also demanded reforms in the departments. As he angered several police officers, who felt unfairly humiliated.

It’s a debate that has divided Democratic politicians, who have most of the political power in Minnesota and its largest city. Progressives like US Representative Ilhan Omar and State Atti. General Keith Ellison, who successfully prosecuted former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of Floyd, supports the measure.

Ellison wrote, “Now more than ever, we need to have a conversation in Minneapolis about how we can achieve both security and human rights, both a sense of security and a sense of hope.” recently Minneapolis Star Tribune Op-Ed. “The vote on the charter amendment gives us that opportunity.”

Moderate Democrats, including US Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Governor Tim Walz, oppose the measure, as do Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, a Democrat who is up for re-election, and Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo.

At a news conference last week, Arradondo said that “to vote on a measure to redefine public safety without a concrete plan and implementation or direction of action – it is very important to the desire and hope of the time.” What we need desperately now.”

For the past year, Frey and Arradondo have touted broad policy changes, including police chokeholds or neck restraints, and a requirement that officers intervene if a coworker uses undue force.

Nevertheless, the US Department of Justice opened an investigation earlier this year in training, strategy, and discipline of the Minneapolis Police Force.

“Building trust between the community and law enforcement will take all of us time and effort, but we approach this task with determination and urgency, knowing that change cannot wait,” US et al. General Merrick Garland said at the time.

1 september Survey by Star Tribune Of the 800 potential voters, 49% supported replacing the Minneapolis Police Department with a new Department of Public Safety, while 41% opposed. Ten percent were undecided.

Early voting began in September.

Jammer Nelson, 43, who lives primarily on the black north side of Minneapolis, understands why some people want to revamp a public safety system in the city: even after his apartment was raided by police in 2000. bears a mark.

“For a long time I was anti-police,” he said.

Nelson is a member of the local group, A Mother’s Love Initiative , which works with the families of victims of gun violence.

While he supports police reform, as well as how mental health crises are handled, he fears what could happen if the measure is passed.

In his neighborhood, he has recently seen more gunfire, robberies and traffic violations — “straight chaos,” he said. A friend lost her only son in a shootout at a convenience store.

Nelson attributes the rising crime to a dwindling police force: the department has shrunk to 588 officers since Floyd’s murder, down to about 300, and all remaining officers do not patrol. Some have left the department, citing post-traumatic stress disorder as a cause of unrest and low morale within the ranks following Floyd’s death.

“It’s ridiculously scary,” Nelson said.

But others in the city see a need for rapid change.

Dea Bullock, 51, a documentary filmmaker who also lives in North Minneapolis, endorses Question 2.

He has seen an increase in violence, but said police were “never readily available.”

In 2019, someone shot at a neighbor’s house – a “big and painful” moment for many in the neighborhood, he said. Police arrived within about 15 minutes and cordoned off the area, but showed no interest in getting information from the neighbours.

About a month ago, the bull was going home at night when a man pointed a gun in the air. The bull pulled up and saw it. The agitated youth jumped in his car and left. A soldier was again driving slowly, turning on the lights and driving away.

“I think they’ve always had a kind of disdain with North Minneapolis — as if it’s our fault for staying there,” Bullock said.

That said, it seems as though the police want residents to feel stressed, like they are living in anarchy, so they will vote against the amendment out of fear.

“It’s a deliberate kind of disdain for the people who live in the city,” he said. “Trying to show us how much we need them and never dare to question them.”

Lee reported from Los Angeles, and Winter, a special correspondent, reported from Minneapolis.

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