At least seven officers of the Minneapolis Police Department have resigned in the wake of George Floyd's killing, the ensuing protests and the government's responses. According to CBS News, these seven quit their jobs on top of the four who have been fired for their involvement with killing George Floyd. So far, city officials have not made it clear whether these officers quit in solidarity with protesters, with other cops or for different reasons.
MPD officials told CBS Minnesota that seven officers had left the force for "myriad" reasons. Their resignations follow the killing of George Floyd, but they also follow the historic protests, calls for law enforcement reform and increasingly combative relationships between police and their communities in the weeks since. The Minneapolis City Council has pledged to defund its police department, putting the officers' employment in question as well.
"Due to these employment separations, we have not noted any indicators that would impact public safety," read a statement from the MPD. While the City Council explores other means of public safety outside of a conventional police department, Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar said that she hopes it will not involve MPD as we know it at all.
"You can't really reform a department that is rotten to the root. What you can do is rebuild, and so this is our opportunity," Omar said on CNN on Saturday.
Still, overhauling the law enforcement structure of the city will not be easy, as it involves untangling the powerful police union rules at work. Last week, CBS News reported that the MPD is withdrawing from its police union contract negotiations as a first step towards the public safety network that Minneapolis residents are calling for.
"This work must be transformational, but I must do it right," said Chief Medaria Arradondo. "I think the traditional process in terms of the union contracts are probably antiquated and not meeting the needs of all vested stakeholders. As chief, I think now is the time to step away from that and start anew."
Minneapolis was the first city to seriously consider the calls from activists to "defund the police," but with the momentum of these protests still going strong, other cities are doing the same. Many are diverting the massive spending on heavily-armed police departments to other social services and programs that are severely lacking. Still, activists on Twitter are warning of partial measures that may not address the real root of systemic racism and violence.