Minneapolis City Council Members Announce Their Support For Disbanding Police Department

Supporters cheer as demonstrators calling to defund the Minneapolis Police Department march on Hennepin Avenue
Stephen Maturen / Getty Images

During a rally at Powderhorn Park in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Sunday afternoon, nine members of the Minneapolis City Council announced that they support disbanding the Minneapolis Police Department and replacing it with a community-run public safety program, Fox News 9 reported. Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender, Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins, and Council Members Alondra Cano, Jeremiah Ellison, Steve Fletcher, Cam Gordon and Jeremy Schroeder were joined by local community activists for the announcement.

With nine of the twelve members of the City Council in favor of getting rid of the police department, they have a veto-proof majority, which means that if a vote passes, the result cannot be overturned. The nine council members who attended the rally said that they plan to get rid of the Minneapolis PD by defunding them during the next city budget process, according to Fox News 9.

The council members all acknowledged to the people gathered at the rally that the current policing system isn’t working, and told the crowd that they want to find new ways to keep their communities safe, per Kare 11.

“Our commitment is to end our city’s toxic relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department, to end policing as we know it, and to re-create systems of public safety that actually keep us safe,” Bender told the crowd.

Bender also admitted that attempts to reform the policing system weren’t enough, according to Fox News 9.

“It is clear that our system of policing is not keeping our communities safe. Our efforts at incremental reform have failed, period.”

Council member Phillippe Cunningham added that the City Council believes that community-based public safety solutions are the answer because they won’t harm the community the way the police department has, Fox News 9 reported.

“All of that money is going to the police department and what do we have in return? Pain, trauma and hurt,” Cunningham said.

The Minneapolis City Council’s clear promise to defund the police department is in sharp contrast to the statements made by Mayor Jacob Frey at a protest on Saturday night. When asked by protesters whether or not he would support defunding police, Mayor Frey said he did “not support the full abolition of the Minneapolis Police Department.” Protesters began to boo him and yelled at him to leave.

Calls to defund police departments have been made in several cities across the country in response to the death of George Floyd during an encounter with Minneapolis police. On Sunday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he would be cutting the NYPD’s budget and reallocating the money to social programs.