“I do not support abolishing the Minneapolis Police Department,” Mayor Frey told protesters, according to KSTP.
The crowd’s reaction was captured on video as they chanted for the mayor to go home while making obscene gestures at him (video below).
Members of the Minneapolis City Council announced Tuesday that they are looking into how to go about disbanding Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), according to one of the city’s council members.
Minneapolis City Ward Three Councilor Steve Fletcher made the stunning revelation in a series of tweets.
Fletcher alleged that the actions of the Minneapolis police have become increasingly dangerous since the May 25 in-custody death of 46-year-old George Floyd, and claimed officers have managed to “escalate and provoke anger all week.”
He noted that the entire city council has been pushing for criminal justice reform in various ways, but boasted that he has “pretty consistently been on the front edge of the fight to give MPD less money and more accountability,” even before Floyd’s death.
In the wake of Floyd’s death, “the people in the streets of Minneapolis…got four officers immediately fired,” Fletcher wrote. “People in the streets got Derek Chauvin charged, and his prosecution transferred to the [State’s Attorney General’s Office].”
Fletcher said that it has become clear that “people in the streets” have proven that a “permanent, generational change to the mainstream view of policing” is imminent.
During an interview on Wednesday, Fletcher said that the MPD is “ungovernable” and that MPD Chief Medaria Arradondo has failed to “make the culture change happen that we were hoping for an investing in,” KSTU reported.
He tweeted that he and “several” of his fellow city council members “are working on finding out what it would take to disband the MPD.”
Fletcher said they would like to replace the city’s police force by starting “fresh with a community-oriented, non-violent public safety and outreach” model.
“Our city needs a public safety capacity that doesn’t fear our residents. That doesn’t need a gun at a community meeting. That considers itself part of our community. That doesn’t resort quickly to pepper spray when people are understandably angry. That doesn’t murder black men,” Fletcher wrote.
Fletcher said that the city must “totally reimagine what public safety means,” right down to what skills they are recruiting for.
“We can invest in cultural competency and mental health training, de-escalation and conflict resolution,” he suggested. “The whole world is watching, and we can declare policing as we know it a thing of the past, and create a compassionate, non-violent future.”
“It will be hard. But so is managing a dysfunctional relationship with an unaccountable armed force in our city,” he lamented.
Fletcher also alleged that the MPD has tried to punish him in the past for cutting the department’s funding.
“Politicians who cross the MPD find slowdowns in their wards,” he claimed. “After the first time I cut money from the proposed police budget, I had an uptick in calls taking forever to get a response, and MPD officers telling business owners to call their councilman about why it took so long.”
Several community partners have already cut ties with MPD in the wake of Floyd’s death.
First up was the University of Minnesota, which announced on May 28 that it will no longer use the MPD or its K9 explosive-detection units to help manage security at large events such as ceremonies, concerts, and football games, Sports Illustrated reported.
The demand for the University of Minnesota to sever ties with the MPD was made in a letter from undergraduate student body president Jael Kerandi.
“We no longer wish to have a meeting or come to an agreement, there is no middle ground,” Kerandi wrote. “The police are murdering black men with no meaningful repercussions. This is not a problem of some other place or some other time. This is happening right here in Minneapolis.”
On Tuesday, the Minneapolis Public School Board unanimously voted to end its decades-long relationship with MPD, the Star Tribune reported.
“I value people and education and life,” chairwoman Kim Ellison told the paper. “Now I’m convinced, based on the actions of the Minneapolis Police Department, that we don’t have the same values.”
School board member Kimberly Caprini said that she “firmly [believes] that it is completely unnatural to have police in schools.”
The Minneapolis Park Board followed suit on Wednesday with a vote to terminate its relationship with the MPD, KSTU reported.
Police have guarded events on the park property in the past.