The Minneapolis City Council voted 12-0 on Friday to advance a proposal to dismantle the city’s police department, although the initiative faces numerous hurdles before it can become law.
After the killing of George Floyd during his arrest by Minneapolis police officers, the city saw massive rioting and growing calls to “defund” its police force.
“It is time to make structural change,” Council Member Steve Fletcher said in remarks to the Associated Press. “It is time to start from scratch and reinvent what public safety looks like.”
The proposal is an amendment to the City Charter, which would have to be approved by the city’s Charter Commission before being placed on the ballot for a city-wide vote in November. However, that process will take time, and Charter Commission chairman Barry Clegg said that the amendment was being rushed through.
“As I understand it, they are saying, ‘We are going to have this new department. We don’t know what it’s going to look like yet. We won’t implement this for a year, we’ll figure it out,’” Clegg told the AP. “For myself anyway, I would prefer that we figured it out first, and then voted on it.”
Mayor Jacob Frey told a crowd of protesters earlier this month that he would not support defunding the police department, after which the crowd booed him out of the rally. Frey is up for reelection in November.
City Council president Lisa Bender has claimed that fear of dismantling the police comes from “a place of privilege.”