The Minneapolis City Council on Sunday pledged to defund the city’s police department, following the killing of George Floyd and claims stretching back decades that the department deploys excessive force.
“Our efforts at incremental reform have failed. Period,” Lisa Bender, the president of the City Council, said at a rally on Sunday.
Bender said that the council did not have a specific plan for how to replace the Minneapolis Police Department but that it would work with local communities to find a solution.
“We recognize that we don’t have all the answers about what a police-free future looks like, but our community does,” the council said.
Those supporting the “defund” movement vary in their views, but there are some common tenets. Here’s what those groups want to see and how policing in Minneapolis could look.
MPD150 and Reclaim the Block
MPD150 says it want to “shift the discussion of police violence in Minneapolis from one of procedural reforms to one of meaningful structural change.”
This would entail:
- Transferring social service functions from police to community-based agencies and organizations.
- Replacing the MPD emergency intervention functions “with models not based on military methods.”
- Redirecting police resources to support community programs.
In an opinion article for Minneapolis’s Star Tribune newspaper, MPD150 said reallocated funds would help its aim of stamping out violent crime.
“Decades of social-science research has revealed that the biggest contributor to violent crime is poverty,” it said.
To get to a more peaceful place, MPD150 says the city needs “good, well-paying jobs, affordable housing, healthy food, empowering education, and accessible healthcare.”
Reclaim the Block has called on the council to defund the city’s police department since 2018.
In the run-up to Sunday’s pledge, Reclaim the Block petitioned the council to redeploy police funding to “community-led health and safety strategies.”
For example, if someone called 911 and said someone was a danger to others because of a mental-health crisis, the person responding could be a trained mental-health professional, rather than an armed police officer with the ability to use lethal force.
Similarly, experts in addiction could respond to drug-abuse cases rather than the police.
The groups worked together in 2017 to produce “Enough is Enough” — an in-depth review of 150 years of the city’s police department.