Following a vote by the city council, Minneapolis reportedly has a plan in place to disband its police department, following the death of George Floyd. According to the Associated Press, the new vote was a unanimous 12-0 on proposing a change to the city charter, which would eventually allow the police department to be done away with. The final decision will be made by the city's voters if the measure makes it to the ballots in November.
According to a drafted version of the amendment, the city's police department would be replaced by a Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention, "which will have responsibility for public safety services prioritizing a holistic, public health-oriented approach." Additionally, the amendment states that the director of the new agency would have "non-law-enforcement experience in community safety services, including but not limited to public health and/or restorative justice approaches." It would also provide for a division made up of licensed peace officers, who would answer directly to the department's director. "It is time to make structural change," Council Member Steve Fletcher said. "It is time to start from scratch and reinvent what public safety looks like."
Earlier this month, the Minneapolis City Council took the first steps toward disbanding the police department when they unanimously voted their support for the idea. Calls to defund and disband the Minneapolis police department emerged in the wake of Floyd's death, who was killed when one of the city's police officers knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest. Floyd was being arrested for suspicion of forgery and fell on the ground at a point during the arrest.
Officer Derick Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck to restrain him, while two other officers applied restraint to other parts of his body. In a video captured by witnesses, Floyd could be heard pleading with the officers that he couldn't breathe, but his cries eventually turned to unresponsiveness. He was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. Footage of Floyd's arrest went viral and ignited a wave of protests around the nation.
At the time of the first vote, Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender stated that the voices of protesters had been heard and that she acknowledged how "incremental reforms" had failed. "We are here today because George Floyd was killed by the Minneapolis Police," she said. "We are here because here in Minneapolis and cities across the United States, it is clear that our existing system of policing and public safety is not keeping our communities safe." The newly proposed amendment will next go on to a policy committee and then to the city's Charter Commission for formal review.