During a rally on Sunday, Minneapolis City Council members announced that they plan to dismantle the city’s police department after four officers were criminally charged in connection with George Floyd’s reported murder.
Eight of the 13 city council members — a veto-proof majority — proclaimed during a rally in Powderhorn that instead of funding the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), they’ll invest funds into community-led safety initiatives. Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender called for the end of the city’s “toxic” relationship with MPD and said they intend to reform public safety systems, according to KARE.
We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department.
And when we’re done, we’re not simply gonna glue it back together.
We are going to dramatically rethink how we approach public safety and emergency response.
It’s really past due. https://t.co/7WIxUL6W79
— Jeremiah Ellison (@jeremiah4north) June 4, 2020
The announcement comes on the heels of George Floyd’s death on May 25.
MPD officers were filmed arresting Floyd, 46, on suspicion that he used a counterfeit bill at Cup Foods. After police pulled Floyd out of his car and handcuffed him, Derek Chauvin, 44, was seen forcing his knee into Floyd’s neck for eight minutes. Floyd can be heard saying he couldn’t breathe before he lost consciousness and died.
While Hennepin County’s autopsy report stated that there was no evidence “to support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation,” an independent autopsy asserted that sustained forceful pressure on Floyd’s neck and back led to his death.
Chauvin was ultimately charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter with culpable negligence. The three other arresting officers, Thomas Lane, 37, J. Alexander Kueng, 26, and Tou Thao, 34, were charged with aiding or abetting second-degree murder.
All four officers were fired in light of Floyd’s death.
In the aftermath of Floyd’s death, multiple entities in Minneapolis have ended their relationship with MPD, including the city’s public school system and the University of Minnesota. As protests over Floyd’s death spread across the country, calls to “Defund the Police” have also spread. But that phrase does not necessarily mean a complete disbanding of police departments, as CNN has reported, although some activists do go that far. Instead, many of the calls are to pull police funding to buy more militaristic equipment and arms and reinvest that money in communities and services that seek a de-escalated and more peaceful response.
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[Featured image: George Floyd/Facebook]