A veto-proof majority of Minneapolis City Council members have announced their intention to disband the city's police department. Nine members are set to vote for defunding and dismantling the police force following the death of George Floyd.
"We recognize that we don't have all the answers about what a police-free future looks like, but our community does," the council members admitted in their statement.
"We'll be taking intermediate steps towards ending the [Minneapolis Police Department] through the budget process and other policy and budget decisions over the coming weeks and months."
For communities its size, Minneapolis has one of the highest crime rates in the nation.
Lisa Bender, council president, told CNN the nine-person coalition represents a veto-proof majority on the 13-member city council.
On Saturday, a mob of protesters called Mayor Jacob Frey out of his home to ask whether he supports defunding the police department. The angry crowd screamed obscenities and told the community-organizing mayor to "go home" after he said no to defunding the police. A spokesperson for Jacob Frey says the mayor remains committed "to working with Chief Arradondo toward deep structural reforms and uprooting systemic racism."
Earlier in the week, Bender tweeted her intent to disband the police force, asking white people if they were "willing to dismantle white supremacy in all systems, including a new system?"
Yes. We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a transformative new model of public safety. https://t.co/FCfjoPy64k— Lisa Bender (@lisabendermpls) June 4, 2020
If you are a comfortable white person asking to dismantle the police I invite you to reflect: are you willing to stick with it? Will you be calling in three months to ask about garage break-ins? Are you willing to dismantle white supremacy in all systems, including a new system?— Lisa Bender (@lisabendermpls) June 3, 2020
Bender told CNN that funding for the police department would be shifted to other needs.
In a tweet, Bender thanked radical activist group Reclaim the Block for inviting her and others on the council into the conversation. Reclaim the Block demands Minneapolis divest from policing and increase funding in other areas of the city's budget.
At a protest, Oluchi Omeoga, a trans, left-wing activist, welcomed the news but said dismantling the police department still won't solve the problem of white supremacy.
Oluchi: “Just because we dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department does not mean we dismantle white supremacy. It does not mean white people get to take a break. I need y’all to learn about abolition, intersectionality, ...”— Reclaim the Block (@reclaimtheblock) June 7, 2020
Several of the council members also said crazy things at the protest.
Council VP Jenkins standing up with Oluchi. They’re wearing purple, she’s reading stories of why that is.— Reclaim the Block (@reclaimtheblock) June 7, 2020
Councilmember Jenkins: “white supremacy is a public health crisis. But we’ve got the cure.”— Reclaim the Block (@reclaimtheblock) June 7, 2020
Jenkins: “the personal is political.”— Reclaim the Block (@reclaimtheblock) June 7, 2020
Councilmember Cunningham now. “We have an opportunity to rebuild that economy that is not rooted in white supremacy but in community.” Then he says the same for public safety.— Reclaim the Block (@reclaimtheblock) June 7, 2020
Councilmember Ellison: “this council is going to dismantle this police department.”— Reclaim the Block (@reclaimtheblock) June 7, 2020
Ellison: “If you don’t stay in this fight I fear that this council or another will just glue it back together.”— Reclaim the Block (@reclaimtheblock) June 7, 2020
Councilmember Cano. “I am no longer a reformist.”— Reclaim the Block (@reclaimtheblock) June 7, 2020
Cano: “We’re going to build this community together. The process leads to the vision. I believe this summer will be a truth and reconciliation summer.”— Reclaim the Block (@reclaimtheblock) June 7, 2020