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Minneapolis approves plan to create ‘community’ alternative to police department

Demonstrators calling to defund the Minneapolis Police Department march on University Avenue. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images/TNS)
June 12, 2020
In a unanimous vote Friday, the city council of Minneapolis, Minnesota passed a plan to ultimately move police department responsibilities to a yet undefined ‘community’ alternative.
The plan calls for a commission of most major city departments to lay out the plan over the course of the next year.

The Minneapolis City Council shared a copy of its resolution titled “Declaring the intent to create a transformative new model for cultivating safety in our city” on Friday.

The resolution calls for “Recommendations that advance the work of the 911 working group and other strategies for
transitioning work of the Minneapolis Police Department to alternative, more appropriate responses to community requests for help and identifying the resources needed to perform this work in City departments, other agencies, and/or community partners while the work of creating a new public safety system is in progress.”

During the year long study period, the city will reportedly be “prototyping new responses to mental health calls, and reporting; and further explore 911 call options beyond the Minneapolis Police Department.”

The idea to replace 911 call features comes just days after a veto-proof majority on the city council voted to disband the police, Axios reported.

“Thank you to the thousands of community members who have raised your voices to demand change. Thank you to @reclaimtheblock & @BlackVisionsMN for inviting us in,” city council president Lisa Bender tweeted Sunday. “Today is a beginning. Minneapolis: we invite you to be part of building a system so our whole community is safe.

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Bender’s tweet linked to a plan describing “the process of ending the Minneapolis Police Department.”

The move to study alternatives to policing come after the death of a black man, George Floyd, while in Minneapolis police custody. Footage of Floyd’s arrest showed him being pinned to the ground by an officer who had his knee on the back of Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes. Floyd was pronounced dead following the arrest video.

Floyd’s death sparked outrage and claims of police brutality and in the days that followed, demonstrators set fire to the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Precinct and looted and destroyed other nearby buildings.

Other demonstrations nationwide, including both peaceful protests and rioting, have sparked calls for police reform and even to defund police departments.

The Minneapolis City Council’s resolution credited Minneapolis Police Department Chief Medaria Arradondo with having made “good-faith efforts within the existing system to improve public safety for all communities in Minneapolis.”