Is Ward Where Floyd Died Now Against 'Abolish Police'?

The woman representing the Minneapolis ward where George Floyd died isn't running again, and critics say it's about her calls to dismantle the police.

Video Transcript

JAMES PACKARD: Just blocks from Minneapolis scars of last summer's rage--

AJ FLOWERS: I believe a lot of people felt left out.

JAMES PACKARD: --a young activist is running a campaign against the anti-police catchphrase that ignited these streets.

AJ FLOWERS: I don't think we want to abolish. We want to just be respected and we want officers held accountable for their actions.

JAMES PACKARD: At just 28, AJ Flowers is trying to get on Minneapolis City Council. He'd be the youngest councilmember ever for the Ninth Ward, the one where George Floyd died.

AJ FLOWERS: Who's going to go to the murder scenes? Who's going to go to the rape scenes? Do we need better policing? Yes, we do. But we have to make sure that we make strategic decisions when we're talking about something as serious as law enforcement.

JAMES PACKARD: He's not alone.

MICKEY MOORE: This is really my stomping grounds.

JAMES PACKARD: Mickey Moore is also in the race for Minneapolis Ninth Ward.

MICKEY MOORE: Police officers left the department because of the lack of support that they received from the city government, from the city council, and that's just so irresponsible.

JAMES PACKARD: Calls to defund headlining a race to replace a councilwoman who publicly championed the idea. Alondra Cano later acknowledged that police force was needed even as the force shrunk.

JASON CHAVEZ: I don't think it's correlated to that.

JAMES PACKARD: Jason Chavez is the only candidate who could beat AJ Flowers to the youngest record. He's just 25.

JASON CHAVEZ: I support the funding of police. I think I wouldn't maybe use that word specifically, right?

JAMES PACKARD: Why not?

JASON CHAVEZ: Just beacuse I think a lot of people get scared by the word and they don't understand what it actually means. We need to, instead, grab that money and put it into housing, put it into youth employment, put it into fixing our environment.

CARMEN MEANS: And what we currently have does not work and has not been working in our favor.

JAMES PACKARD: Candidate Carmen Means has no set plan for the future of the police.

CARMEN MEANS: I hear the cries of the people saying that we need policing. And I do hear some folks saying that we don't need. We have this tear.

JAMES PACKARD: All of them agree the Minneapolis Police Department has to change and the time to do it is now. Over the last year crime has gone up here. The Minneapolis Police Department reports 152 violent crimes in Ward 9 so far this year, outpacing each of the last five years. At that same time, response times are slowing.

JASON CHAVEZ: We show up late and work isn't being done.

JAMES PACKARD: An analysis from the "Minnesota Reformer" shows response times slowed last summer after George Floyd's death. "The Outlook" reports it's taking four extra minutes for an officer to arrive. The Minneapolis Police Department didn't respond to Newsy's question about that report. Last year a group of eight North Minneapolis residents sued the city, saying officers were disappearing.

CARMEN MEANS: When you hear abolishing what is the strategy behind that? None of that can be done without the proper strategy.

JAMES PACKARD: For all the talk of the police, each of these candidates for November's election has other ideas for reforming the community.

MICKEY MOORE: Business revitalization.

CARMEN MEANS: They can go from renting to owning.

JASON CHAVEZ: And do a complete renter's bill of rights.

JAMES PACKARD: But they all know no reform here is complete without reimagining the police.

AJ FLOWERS: Ward 9 is a community of fighters. We always have been. We're passionate.

JAMES PACKARD: James Packard. "Newsy." Minneapolis.