Minneapolis City Council Votes Unanimously to Replace Police Department, Explore Community-Led Reform

The Minneapolis City Council unanimously voted on a resolution Friday to replace the city's police department with a community-led public safety system in the wake of George Floyd's murder on May 25. After Floyd was killed in police custody, protests across the country called for defunding the police in Minneapolis and elsewhere. Nine members of the city council announced Sunday they supported replacing the police department with a new way to protect the community, which will be developed in the year-long project.

The current plan does not completely disband the Minneapolis Police Department, but does include a framework for significant reform, reports KARE11. The plan calls for collaboration with Mayor Jacob Frey, Police Chief Medaria Arrendondo, the Hennepin County government and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. The major part of the resolution includes creating the "Future of Community Safety Work Group," which was assigned to create "strategies for building this new model for cultivating community safety."

The strategies include policy changes that take a "public health approach" to community safety and police alternatives; research into creating a new "City Department of Community Safety" that takes a "holistic approach"; recommendations to help the 911 working group and others transition from working with the police to the alternative; and recommendations for "additional community safety strategies that build upon "existing work across our city enterprise that approaches public safety through a public health lens." The workgroup has until July 24 to report back with its recommendations.

"The City Council will engage with every willing community member in Minneapolis, centering the voices of Black people, American Indian people, people of color, immigrants, victims of harm, and other stakeholders who have been historically marginalized or under-served by our present system," the resolution reads. "Together, we will identify what safety looks like for everyone." The resolution was written by all 13 city council members.

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On Friday, Frey announced three new public safety transformation task forces, which will include "national partners, local systems and community partners." The national subgroup will be tasked with studying other cities' public safety plans, while the local subgroup is tasked with planning how to make recommended changes. "By considering best practices and policy recommendations from across the country, centering community in the conversation, and thinking big about solutions beyond policing, we’re setting the stage for deliberate and lasting change for the people of Minneapolis," the mayor said.

Floyd died in police custody when former officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes. Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. The Minnesota Department of Human Rights launched an investigation into the police department practices last week. The City Council also unanimously voted to ban police use of chokeholds and neck restraints.