Several Minneapolis council members are reportedly considering altogether “disbanding” the city’s police department in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the subsequent protests and riots that have erupted across the country in recent days.
“I don’t know yet, though several of us on the council are working on finding out, what it would take to disband the [Minneapolis Police Department] and start fresh with a community-oriented, non-violent public safety and outreach capacity,” said Steve Fletcher, a council member who represents the city’s Ward 3, which covers parts of downtown, on Twitter.
Elsewhere in the lengthy thread, Fletcher argues that the city’s police department is “irredeemably beyond reform,” and that the community needs a new type of pubic safety that doesn’t “fear our residents” and doesn’t “murder black men.”
“The whole world is watching, and we can declare policing as we know it a thing of the past,” he wrote.
According to the City Pages, a local news outlet, fellow council member Phillipe Cunningham retweeted the thread.
Another council member, Alondra Cano, also spoke out, tweeting that the police department is “not reformable” and that “change is coming.”
City Pages notes that some in the council have been attempting to reform law enforcement in the city for years. In 2018, the council voted to divert $1.1 million in police funding toward “community-driven public safety programs.”
But now, given the unrest over Floyd’s death, some council members believe even more change is within reach.
Earlier in the week, the council unanimously approved a Minnesota Department of Human Rights investigation into the police department and wrote in a statement:
“We urge the state to use its full weight to hold the Minneapolis Police Department accountable for any and all abuses of power and harms to our community and stand ready to aid in this process as full partners. The City Council’s oversight of the Minneapolis Police Department has been historically constrained by the City Charter and state law and we welcome new tools to pursue transformational, structural changes to how the City provides for public safety.”
Several other council members have also been outspoken since Floyd’s death sparked nationwide protests against police brutality in black communities.
Last week, Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins asked the city to declare a state of emergency labeling racism a public health issue.
Another council member, Jeremiah Ellison, who is the son of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, raised eyebrows when he officially declared support for Antifa and instead blamed violence at the protests on “white power” terrorists.