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Amendment to disband Minneapolis police will not appear on November ballot

Amendment to disband Minneapolis police will not appear on November ballot
© Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

An amendment to disband the Minneapolis Police Department will not appear on the November ballot after a charter commission said Wednesday it needed more time to review the City Council’s proposal.

Members of the charter commission said that the police department needs to change, but that the amendment before them was flawed and the process to change the city’s charger in wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody had been rushed, The Associated Press reported

Some members said the amendment faced legal barriers and others felt it gave too much power to the City Council, according to the AP. 

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City Council Member Jeremiah Ellison criticized the charter commission’s decision, tweeting that the people should have been allowed to vote on “the future of Public Safety in Minneapolis.” 

“It is our legacy in the US to use voting to decide our future," he tweeted. “It is *not* our legacy to use bureaucratic processes to circumvent the people in an attempt to 'protect' voters from themselves.” 

“While I appreciate The Charter Commission's engagement and effort to take up this proposal, they failed to act when the people told them what they did not want to hear,” he added. "That is not democracy. In a democracy, the people decide. But I guess the commission thought they knew better.” 

Ellison said the council will revisit the charger change for the 2021 ballot.

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The city council in June unanimously approved a proposal that would amend the city’s charter to allow the police department to be dismantled. The proposal would replace the police department with a Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention.

The 15-member commission, which is made up of volunteers appointed by a judge, voted 10-5 to take another 90 days to review the amendment, according to the AP. 

Without a final decision on the proposal, it will not clear deadlines to make the ballot for November, the newswire noted. 

“The council says, ‘Trust us. We’ll figure it out after this is approved. Trust us.’ Well I don’t, and we shouldn’t,” Barry Clegg, chairman of the Charter Commission, told the AP. “Charter change is too important.”

The push to dismantle the department followed the death of Floyd at the end of May. Floyd died after a former officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeled on his neck as Floyd said he couldn't breathe. Floyd’s death has sparked nationwide protests over police brutality.