Minneapolis City Council unanimously approves proposal to dismantle police department

The Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved a proposal that would amend the city’s charter to allow the city police department to be dismantled. 

The 12-0 vote is the latest push to hold law enforcement accountable after the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed last month in an encounter with the city's police. The proposal’s passage is the first step toward making the decision a ballot measure in the November general election. 

The proposal would replace the police department with a Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention, “which will have responsibility for public safety services prioritizing a holistic, public health-oriented approach.”

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The head of this department would be somebody with “non-law-enforcement experience in community safety services, including but not limited to public health and/or restorative justice approaches.”

The move from the council comes after massive protests in Minneapolis and across the country following Floyd’s death. Protesters have demanded widespread police reform and the defunding of the police.

Several cities have banned chokeholds and reduced police department budgets this month as a result. 

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (D) has previously said he doesn’t support dismantling the police. He's been criticized for that stance by people with the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Frey criticized the proposal approved for lacking clarity and being rushed, a criticism also made by other city officials.

“There is a significant lack of clarity. And if I’m seeing a lack of clarity, so are our constituents,” Frey said at the Friday meeting, according to The Associated Press.