Minneapolis school board terminates contract with police department over George Floyd death

Minneapolis school board terminates contract with police department over George Floyd death
© getty: A memorial left for George Floyd who died in custody on May 26, 2020 is viewed in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

The Minneapolis public school system has officially voted to end its contract with the city's police department over the death of George Floyd.

The school board took the unanimous vote Tuesday, leaving Superintendent Ed Graff to develop a new school safety plan by Aug. 18, when the board is scheduled to meet next, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.

“I value people and education and life,” school board chairwoman Kim Ellison told the newspaper. “Now I’m convinced, based on the actions of the Minneapolis Police Department, that we don’t have the same values.”

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During the meeting, board member Kimberly Caprini called the use of police in schools “completely unnatural.”

While a 2018-2019 Minneapolis Public Schools survey returned generally positive feedback for resource officers in the system, the results also found the officers had more interactions with black students than others.

Board director Josh Pauly announced last Friday that he had drafted the resolution to terminate the contract to send “a very clear message.”

"Our communities are in pain, and our city is on fire as a result of MPD's blatant disregard for black lives. The people of our city are demanding justice," Pauly said Friday, adding, "we do have the ability to send MPD a very clear message - not only through public statements - but through action."

The University of Minnesota has taken similar steps, with president Joan Gabel announcing last week that it will limit its collaboration with the department.

“Our hearts are broken after watching the appalling video capturing the actions of Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) officers against George Floyd leading to his tragic death,” she wrote in a letter to students Thursday.

Floyd, a black Minneapolis man, died last Monday after a police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes despite Floyd’s protests that he could not breathe. The officer, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.