The Minneapolis City Council voted Friday to approve a resolution that would ask voters in November to disband the current police department in favor of a “public safety department.”
“The Department of Public Safety will change the current police-only model of public safety, to allow the City of Minneapolis a funded, accountable and comprehensive public health approach to public safety,” the resolution said.
“This will allow us to be both proactive and responsive to the community, adding a range of strategies, right-sized responses, experts, professional personnel, and licensed peace officers (also known as, police officers), when necessary.”
According to a CNN report, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has signaled that he does not plan on signing the resolution to move the measure to the ballot for the Nov. 2 election, but has not said if he would outright veto it.
"(Mayor Frey) will not be signing the measure but appreciates the careful work and thorough analysis done by city staff to prepare fair and accurate language for voters to consider this fall," a statement from his office said. “Mayor Frey maintains that giving the Minneapolis City Council control over public safety work would mark a major setback for accountability and good governance."
If he takes no action, it will become official July 31, and the council would then move to have the language for the ballot finalized, the report said.
If he vetoes the resolution, the council could override his decision with a two-thirds majority.
The controversial measure comes from exploding racial tensions in the city in the wake of George Floyd's murder last May by former police officer Derek Chauvin.
Chauvin, who is white, is serving a more than 20-year sentence for the second-degree murder of Floyd, a Black man. Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes while onlookers appealed to him to get off.
The incident spurred riots and violence in major cities throughout the nation, which led to the creation of Yes 4 Minneapolis, a coalition of “residents, neighbors, businesses, organizations, faith communities, and families across the city who are saying ‘yes’ to creating a safe Minneapolis,” according to the organization.
“We marched. We organized. We listened. And, most importantly, we learned that Minneapolis residents agree that our current police-only approach to public safety is broken,” the group’s website said. “Yes 4 Minneapolis (Y4M) is a unifying campaign bringing together voters, faith leaders, labor unions, businesses, and more because we have an opportunity to create a system that works for all of us.”
According to the organization, the move to a public safety department would “create a comprehensive public health approach to public safety, so that all of us, no matter what we look like or which neighborhood we live in, have an equal opportunity to live safely and securely.”
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