SEVERE WX : Heat Advisory View Alerts

Minneapolis City Council advances a plan to dismantle the city police department

George Floyd (left) and Derek Chauvin. Chauvin, a former police officer, has been charged with murder and manslaughter in the death of Floyd.

The 12-0 vote is just the first step in a process that faces significant bureaucratic obstacles to make the November ballot, where the city’s voters would have the final say.

Posted: Jun 26, 2020 6:23 AM
Updated: Jun 26, 2020 11:26 AM

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minneapolis City Council on Friday unanimously approved a proposal to change the city charter to allow the police department to be dismantled, following mass public criticism of law enforcement over the killing of George Floyd.

The 12-0 vote is just the first step in a process that faces significant bureaucratic obstacles to make the November ballot, where the city’s voters would have the final say. And it came amid a spate of recent shootings in Minnesota’s largest city that have heightened many citizens’ concerns about talk of dismantling the department.

The proposed amendment next goes to a policy committee and to the city’s Charter Commission for a formal review, at which point citizens and city officials can also weigh in.

“I hope that the Charter Commission will recognize the moment that we are in and take our offer of support, however we can provide it, to expedite this process so that voters have a chance to have their voices heard on this important question and this important moment in our city’s history,” Council President Lisa Bender said.

The Minneapolis force has come under heavy pressure since Floyd, a Black man in handcuffs, died May 25 after a police officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes. Activists have long accused the department of being unable to change a racist and brutal culture, and earlier this month, a majority of the council proclaimed support for dismantling the department.

Jeremiah Ellison, a member of the council, said after the vote that the charter has been a barrier to the kinds of changes that citizens have demanded.

Draft language of the amendment posted online would replace the department with a Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention, “which will have responsibility for public safety services prioritizing a holistic, public health-oriented approach.”

The amendment goes on to say the director of the new agency would have “non-law-enforcement experience in community safety services, including but not limited to public health and/or restorative justice approaches.” It also provides for a division of licensed peace officers, who would answer to the department's director.

Council members who support the change are looking to seize on a groundswell of support for significant policing changes following Floyd's death. If they don't get the charter change on the November ballot, their next chance won't come until November 2021, they say.

Barry Clegg, chairman of the Charter Commission, said the process feels rushed.

“As I understand it, they are saying, ‘We are going to have this new department. We don’t know what it’s going to look like yet. We won’t implement this for a year, we’ll figure it out,’” Clegg said. “For myself anyway, I would prefer that we figured it out first, and then voted on it.”

Clegg said that to get the proposed amendment question on the November ballot, it has to be finalized by Aug. 21. He said if the Charter Commission took its final action at its Aug. 5 meeting, there would likely be enough time for it to get passed by the full council, go through a veto period, and then, if vetoed, have time to spare for a possible mayoral veto override. Once on the ballot, the measure would go to voters.

Mayor Jacob Frey doesn't support abolishing the department, a stance that got him booed off the street by activists who demonstrated outside his house following Floyd's death and demanded to know where he stood.

Frey expressed concerns about the proposed amendment as currently drafted, including whether the change would eliminate police altogether or allow for a police presence going forward. He also said that when something currently goes wrong, the chief and the mayor are accountable — but under the new plan, accountability would be dispersed among 14 people. Frey also questioned whether policing practices would vary, based on ward or other factors.

“There is a significant lack of clarity. And if I’m seeing a lack of clarity, so are our constituents,” said Frey, who has said he supports deep structural change in the existing department.

Fletcher said under the new agency when someone calls 911, there will always be a response that’s appropriate, including the option for a response by employees authorized to use force. But he said the vast majority of calls that police officers currently take will be answered by employees with different expertise.

Miski Noor, an organizer with Black Visions, criticized the proposed amendment for creating a division of licensed peace officers at all. She said it “would give current and former police way too much power to shape public safety in Minneapolis.”

Steven Belton, president and chief executive of Urban League Twin Cities, said the way some council members went forward without a concrete plan is “irresponsible.”

“The problem that needs to be stated up front, from my perspective, is racism. … I’m not sure what they are trying to fix here,” he said.

Don Blyly, whose beloved science fiction and mystery bookstores were destroyed by arson in the unrest that followed Floyd's death, said if local leaders do something “sufficiently stupid” when it comes to policing, he won’t reopen in Minneapolis.

“There are legitimate problems with the Minneapolis police, but the way the politicians are going about it is just ridiculous,” Blyly said. “They are pandering to a certain segment of the electorate.”

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 38569

Reported Deaths: 1511
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin12456787
Ramsey4911228
Dakota238291
Stearns237119
Anoka2241109
Nobles16696
Olmsted112915
Washington111440
Mower9522
Rice8447
Scott7344
Clay58738
Kandiyohi5731
Blue Earth4792
Wright4755
Todd4012
Carver3811
Sherburne3175
Lyon3162
Freeborn2920
Watonwan2340
Steele2311
Benton2173
St. Louis18015
Martin1695
Nicollet16912
Cottonwood1360
Goodhue1318
Winona12515
Crow Wing10612
Pine1050
Le Sueur1031
Chisago1001
Otter Tail951
McLeod920
Carlton870
Dodge870
Polk822
Chippewa791
Unassigned7837
Isanti730
Waseca680
Douglas650
Itasca6412
Murray640
Meeker611
Morrison591
Becker560
Faribault560
Jackson550
Sibley542
Pipestone522
Pennington510
Renville352
Mille Lacs342
Wabasha330
Brown312
Rock310
Beltrami300
Fillmore300
Yellow Medicine300
Houston260
Swift221
Wilkin213
Norman200
Redwood180
Cass162
Roseau160
Aitkin150
Big Stone150
Koochiching151
Wadena150
Kanabec141
Grant120
Marshall120
Lincoln100
Pope100
Mahnomen91
Clearwater80
Hubbard70
Lake60
Traverse60
Lac qui Parle40
Stevens40
Red Lake30
Kittson20
Cook10
Lake of the Woods00

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 31670

Reported Deaths: 722
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk6638179
Woodbury325244
Black Hawk230158
Buena Vista171411
Johnson13148
Linn129482
Dallas128029
Marshall104919
Scott81510
Story7793
Pottawattamie73612
Wapello70830
Dubuque70222
Crawford6772
Muscatine64344
Sioux4770
Tama46529
Wright3861
Louisa36213
Jasper32517
Plymouth3225
Warren2901
Dickinson2663
Washington2439
Webster2292
Hamilton1891
Cerro Gordo1821
Boone1481
Clay1340
Clarke1322
Allamakee1314
Mahaska11617
Shelby1140
Clinton1121
Poweshiek1068
Carroll991
Pocahontas971
Bremer946
Des Moines922
Franklin900
Emmet880
Henry863
Cedar841
Taylor790
Hardin770
Monona770
Cherokee751
Floyd732
Marion700
Benton691
Guthrie664
Jefferson640
Sac640
Osceola620
Jones610
Butler572
Buchanan551
Humboldt551
Hancock540
Harrison540
Lee542
Calhoun532
Iowa530
Delaware511
Fayette510
Monroe516
Madison482
Clayton443
Lyon440
Davis411
Palo Alto410
Mitchell390
Winneshiek390
Grundy380
Mills370
Kossuth350
Howard340
Jackson320
Lucas314
Greene300
Chickasaw290
Union290
Winnebago290
Ida240
Cass230
Van Buren220
Appanoose213
Keokuk211
Page210
Worth200
Unassigned170
Adair160
Audubon161
Ringgold160
Decatur120
Montgomery102
Wayne100
Adams80
Fremont70
Rochester
Clear
78° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 80°
Mason City
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 78°
Albert Lea
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 75°
Austin
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 78°
Charles City
Scattered Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 81°
Some relief in sight, after more storms
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Masks not reccomended while exercising

Image

Prioritizing Childcare Funding

Image

Mask Mandate enforcement

Image

Staying safe in the heat

Image

Restaurant decides to go back to take-out amid surge in cases

Image

Shop Local Safely

Image

Expanded Team of Community Outreach

Image

Protecting Residents and Staff

Image

Dave's Noon Forecast 7/7

Image

Rochester businesses close out of precaution

Community Events