Members of the Minneapolis City Council on Sunday announced plans to disband their embattled police department in the wake of worldwide protests over the killing of George Floyd at the hands of cops.
The nine councilmembers, who form a veto-proof majority, committed to de-funding the department and moving toward a community-based public safety model during a rally at the city’s Powderhorn Park, local reports said.
“It is clear that our system of policing is not keeping our communities safe,” said council president Lisa Bender, according to Fox9. “Our efforts at incremental reform have failed, period.”
“It’s our commitment to end policing as we know it, and recreate systems of public safety that actually keep us safe.”
In a statement, the council said it would be “taking intermediate steps toward ending the MPD through the budget process and other budget and policy decisions over the coming weeks and months.”
The 12-member body reportedly plans to begin voting on legislation targeting the department on Friday.
Over the weekend, Bender and several of her colleagues expressed their intent to drastically change how public safety is upheld in the city.
Bender told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that she envisions replacing a traditional police department with a broader, more holistic public safety department geared toward violence prevention and community services. Social workers or medics could respond to situations once handled by police, she said.
Councilmember Steve Fletcher outlined the concept in an article published in Time on Friday, arguing that incremental reforms to policing have not worked.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey doesn’t appear to agree with plans to de-fund the police department. He was booed out of a demonstration by protesters on Saturday after saying he wouldn’t commit to abolishing the cops.