Minneapolis City Council’s Promise To Dismantle Police Is Now in Political Limbo
George Floyd’s death under the knee of then–Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin unleashed the activism that prompted the Minneapolis City Council to vote in June to completely eliminate the police department and attempt to craft a more “holistic” approach to handling public safety.
That’s not happening. It turns out that actually shifting policies takes more than embracing an expansive but vague concept of change.
The Minneapolis City Council knew this in June: The council’s vote didn’t actually order the disbanding or defunding of police. Instead it launched a lengthy process to change the city’s charter with the aim of ultimately replacing the police department with a “Community Safety & Violence Prevention Department.”
What does that actually mean? Well, that’s part of the problem. The proposed changes to the city’s charter cross out the section on the police and add sections for this new department. Here how the proposal describes the department and the person tapped to lead it:
Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention. The City Council must establish, maintain, adequately fund, and consistently engage the public about a department of community safety and violence prevention, which will have responsibility for public safety services prioritizing a holistic, public health-oriented approach.
Director of Community Safety and Violence Prevention Department. The Mayor nominates and the City Council appoints a director of the department of community safety and violence prevention under section 8.4(b). Individuals eligible to be appointed as director will have non-law enforcement experience in community safety services, including but not limited to public health and/or restorative justice approaches.
But what does that mean? The next two parts of the proposal essentially restore the idea of ha
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