Currents News Staff
Nine of 13 Minneapolis City Council members have publicized their desire to not reform the police department, but abolish it.
It’s “our commitment is to end our city’s toxic relationship with the police department, to end policing as we know it,” described Lisa Bender, President of the Minneapolis City Council.
A rally at a Minneapolis park served as an incubator of sorts to share ideas about a post-police world. Redirecting the department’s budget toward youth programs, mental health services and addiction treatment was part of it.
Also part of the conversation was having a choice about who to call for help, maybe neighbors or social workers.
“Police are not the right response for a myriad of issues, mental health crises, domestic violence calls, opioid overdoses,” said city council member Phillipe Cunningham, who is looking toward revising the city budget this month due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“”There is an opportunity for us to be able to explore what our next steps are,” he added, “but really, we’re going to be hitting 2021’s budget very hard.”
Mayor Jacob Frey says he’ll work with the police chief on community-led public safety strategies to address systemic racism in police culture, but he doesn’t support the police department’s abolition.
However, dismantling the police department may or may not happen. Many people in the crowd Currents News spoke with say they’ve lost hope with reform.
“We have had citizen review boards, body cameras and a black chief, but we are still here watching black people get murdered and tear gassed in our streets,” said Noor from the Black Visions Collective. “We have never looked to the police for our safety. We have looked to each other.”