More than a year after ”defund the police” calls rang out in Minneapolis after George Floyd was murdered by a police officer, a Minneapolis City Council committee has brought forward an amendment to replace the city’s police department.
The policy and government oversight committee passed the measure 11-2, sending it to the full City Council to vote. If passed there, it will go on the November general election ballot.
If voters approve, the Minneapolis Police Department would give way to a public safety department and provide a “comprehensive public health approach” to law enforcement, Fox-9 Minneapolis reported.
The “public health tools” would include mental health responders, substance abuse specialists, violence interrupters and violence prevention professionals, Fox News reported.
The official ballot item reads, according to the report:
“Shall the Charter be amended to create a Department of Public Safety that employs a comprehensive public health approach with a range of strategies and personnel, including licensed peace officers as necessary, to fulfill responsibilities for community safety, with the general nature of the amendments being briefly indicated in the explanatory note below, which is made a part of this ballot?”
Council member Steve Fletcher told Fox 9 the wording is taking from the petition from the “Yes 4 Minneapolis Committee” activist group that brought the proposal forward with the necessary signatures in April.
“I am persuaded that this is not going to get better with another two weeks,” Fletcher told Fox 9. “I’m persuaded that this language is a version of describing the intention of the petitioner and 20,000 people who signed the petition saying they want to create a significant change and that we should put it on the ballot. So I’m going to go ahead and move for approval of language as is.”
The “Yes 4 Minneapolis Committee” hailed the progress in a tweet Wednesday:
“Today’s vote confirms what we’ve known all along: The people of Minneapolis are excited and ready to participate in their democracy to keep themselves and one another safe, and that a handful of unelected people continue attempts to derail these efforts.”
City Council members have been told not to advocate for or against the charter in their official capacities, according to Fox News.
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been sentenced to 22 1/2 years for second-degree murder of Floyd last year, and the City Council has faced pressure to overhaul policing after social injustice protests led to arson and looting in the city.
Minneapolis has been roiled by a crime wave since, retired Minneapolis police officer Mylan Masson told Fox News. The city currently is not “as bad” as Chicago, but it “certainly could be” headed in that direction, he warned.
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