Minneapolis City Council members announce intent to disband police department

A veto-proof majority of Minneapolis, Minn. City Council members announced their commitment to disband the city’s police department and invest in community-led public safety measures, according to a report. “We’re here because we hear you. We are here today because George Floyd was killed by the Minneapolis Police. We are here because here in Minneapolis and in cities across the United States it is clear that our existing system of policing and public safety is not keeping our communities safe,” Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender said. “Our efforts at incremental reform have failed. Period.”

According to the report, Minneapolis Public Schools, and the University of Minnesota, and Minneapolis Parks and Recreation severed longstanding ties with the MPD. “We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department,” tweeted Council Member Jeremiah Ellison on June 4, pledging to “dramatically rethink” the city’s approach to emergency response. In a TIME op-ed published the next day, Council Member Steve Fletcher cited the MPD’s lengthy track record of misconduct and “decades-long history of violence and discrimination”—all of which are subjects of an ongoing Minnesota Department of Human Rights investigation—as compelling justifications for the department’s disbandment, says the report.

In addition, The New York Times reported council members said in interviews that they did not yet have specific plans to announce what a new public safety system for the city would look like. They promised to develop plans by working with the community, and said they would draw on past studies, consent decrees and reforms to policing across the nation and the world.