A Minneapolis councilman and the son of the Minnesota attorney general is vowing to “dismantle” the city’s police department following the death of a man in police custody which has sparked riots in several major cities nationwide.
Jeremiah Ellison, son of the state’s attorney general and former Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison, tweeted his plan Thursday to radically restructure the police force in Minnesota’s largest city with a population of 3.6 million.
"We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department," Jeremiah Ellison wrote. "And when we’re done, we’re not simply gonna glue it back together. We are going to dramatically rethink how we approach public safety and emergency response. It’s really past due."
ABC network affiliate KSTP said the council was to hold an emergency council meeting on Thursday to consider changes to the department, including one member’s desire to “disband” the department.
Ellison is one of 12 Democrat-Farmer-Labor Party members who make up the 13-member city council. The other councilman is a Green Party member. Democrat-Farmer-Labor Party members have held the mayoralty for 53 of the past 59 years and every year since 1978.
The promise by Ellison comes 10 days after a black man, George Floyd died in police custody following his arrest for using a counterfeit $20 bill at a local grocery store. A widely seen video of a white police officer restraining Floyd face down beside a patrol car with his knee on his neck has sparked riots in several places.
The Hennepin County coroner has ruled Floyd’s death a homicide, issuing an autopsy report saying he died of a heart attack, restraint and neck compression with the synthetic opioid fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system. He also tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Floyd’s death has been characterized by some as an example of systemic racism among police officers. A Wall Street Journal opinion piece on Wednesday called the claim a “myth.”
Three of the four officers involved in Floyd’s arrest have been fired and charged with aiding and abetting Floyd’s death, while the officer in the video has been charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
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