Members of the city council stand shoulder to shoulder in a city park decorated with letters that read “Defund Police”.
A few days ago, George Floyd Killed by police in Minneapolis A few blocks away, large-scale protests were triggered across the country. Now, hundreds of protesters gather in the park. They want justice. They want accountability. They want reform.
“We should and can abolish our current Minneapolis police system,” Congresswoman Alondra Cano said at the time.
On Tuesday, more than a year after Freud’s death, voters in Minneapolis will decide whether to replace the city’s troubled police station with a new Department of Public Safety. This effort, if passed, could lead to Cities across the country have adopted similar measures. nation.
If approved by voters, the police station and its chief’s office will be removed from the city charter, and the minimum funding requirement will also be removed.
The new department may still include the police and will be headed by commissioners nominated by the mayor and appointed by the city council.
The language of the ballot did not specify what the new department would do or how it would operate. If the measure is passed, the mayor and city council will answer many of these questions. The department’s funding will still come from the city, and the total amount will be determined by elected city officials, just as it is now.
For months, residents of Minneapolis, which has seen a recent surge in violent crime, have been debating whether to support issue 2.
Most people here agree that policing needs to change — critics say it’s impossible to not think so after watching Freud’s last breath — but they are divided on how this should happen, especially at a national level. After the demonstrations, they even asked the department to reform because they angered many police officers who felt unfairly slandered.
This debate has divided Democratic politicians, who have most of the political power in Minnesota and its largest city. Progressive figures such as U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar and Atti State. General Keith Ellison, who successfully prosecuted the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the Freud murder case, supported this measure.
Ellison wrote: “It is now more than ever necessary to promote a dialogue in Minneapolis on how we can have security and human rights, a sense of security, and a sense of hope at the same time.” recently Minneapolis Star Tribune column. “The voting on the amendments to the bylaws gave us this opportunity.”
Moderate Democrats, including U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar and Governor Tim Walz, opposed the measure. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Jacob Frey and Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo also opposed this measure.
At a press conference last week, Aradondo said, “Without a reliable plan, implementation, or work direction, vote on measures to reimagine public safety – this is a very critical moment and I don’t want to get The help we need. We are desperate now.”
For most of the past year, Frey and Aradondo have touted wide-ranging policy changes, including the prohibition of police choking or neck restraint, and the necessity of police intervention if colleagues use improper force.
Nevertheless, the U.S. Department of Justice An investigation was launched earlier this year Enter the training, tactics, and discipline of the Minneapolis police force.
“Building trust between the community and law enforcement requires the time and energy of all of us, but we have taken on this task firmly and urgently because we know that change cannot wait,” the US Attorney General. General Merrick Garland said at the time.
September Star Tribune poll 800 possible voters found that 49% supported the replacement of the Minneapolis Police Department with a new public safety department, while 41% opposed it. Ten percent is undecided.
Early voting begins in September.
Jamal Nelson, 43, who lives on the predominantly black side of Minneapolis, understands why some people want to rebuild the public safety system in the city: he still stayed after being raided by police in 2000 when his apartment was raided. There are scars.
“For a long time, I was anti-police,” he said.
Nelson is a member of the local organization A Mothers Love Initiative , It works with the families of victims of gun violence.
Although he supports reforming the police and how to deal with the mental health crisis, he is worried about what will happen if the measure is passed.
He said that in his vicinity, he has recently seen more gunshots, robberies and traffic violations-“direct lawlessness”. A friend lost her only son in a convenience store shooting.
Nelson attributed the rising crime to a reduction in the police force: the department has shrunk to 588 police officers, about 300 fewer since Freud was killed, and not all remaining police officers are on patrol. Some people left the department citing the turmoil after Freud’s death and the low morale in the team as a cause of post-traumatic stress disorder.
“This is terrible,” Nelson said.
But others in the city believe that rapid change is necessary.
DA Bullock, 51, is also a documentary filmmaker living in northern Minneapolis, and he supports Question 2.
He noticed an increase in violence, but said that the police “never been available at any time.”
He said that in 2019, someone shot at a neighbor’s house-a “major and traumatic” moment for many people nearby. The police arrived and sealed off the area in about 15 minutes, but did not seem to be interested in obtaining information from neighbors.
About a month ago, when Bullock drove home at night, a man shot into the air. Bullock stepped aside to watch. The excited man jumped into his car and drove away. A policeman drove past slowly, flashed his lights, and drove away.
“I think they have always had a disdainful attitude towards northern Minneapolis—as if it was our fault to live there,” Bullock said.
He said that for him, it felt as if the police wanted the residents to feel pressured as if they were living in chaos, so they would vote against the amendment out of fear.
“This is a deliberate contempt for the people who live in this city,” he said. “Trying to show us how much we need them and how much we never dare to question.”
Lee reports from Los Angeles, and special correspondent Winter reports from Minneapolis.