Minneapolis City Council members continue efforts to disband the city’s police department. The most recent suggestion presented at a January meeting would replace the current agency with a newly formed Department of Public Safety but keep current police officers on the payroll. Three council members behind the measure explained the new organizational format would include “additional divisions … to provide for a comprehensive approach to public safety beyond law enforcement,” according to Fox News.
This is at least the third attempt to reform the Minneapolis Police Department since the death of George Floyd last May for which a former MPD officer faces trial next month. In June, the council unanimously voted to disband the police in its entirety, but the effort hit a legal roadblock due to a clause in the city’s charter regarding police governance. Then the Charter Commission prevented the issue from appearing on the November ballot. Another proposal offered a Department of Public Safety as an option, unlike this latest attempt, which would make it mandatory.
Fox News also reports the council now proposes new charter language that would relieve the mayor of “complete power” over the department’s operation and reassign it to the council.
“Minneapolis residents are imagining a comprehensive public safety approach that is more effective and more reflective of our values, and they are calling on the city to act. This charter amendment creates a structure that supports that vision and allows our city to innovate,” commented City Councilmember Steve Fletcher in a prepared statement.
As of early February, a vote on the new measure had yet to be scheduled.