Minneapolis progressives were handed a defeat Tuesday night after voters rejected a proposal to replace the city’s police department with a Department of Public Safety, according NBC News, citing an election night call by the Associated Press.
The proposed change would have fought crime with “a comprehensive public health approach to the delivery of functions by the Department of Public Safety,” the specifics of which would have been in the hands of the mayor and City Council.
According to supporters, the plan would have amended the city’s charter to remove a requirement that the Minneapolis PD maintain a minimum number of officers, whose role would be reduced in matters of the homeless, mental health issues, and substance abuse – however they would have still been the first line of defense when it comes to violent crime.
Or they would have all been fired – since the proposal was fatally vague.
Supporters of the measure, including the ‘Yes 4 Minneapolis’ coalition which petitioned to put the item on the ballot, blame ‘misinformation’ for its defeat.
“If the people of Minneapolis vote no, that does mean that the disinformation campaign has won out for this battle. And it means that this fight continues,” said JaNaé Bates, a minister and spokesperson for the group. “We will most certainly continue moving forward.”
Minneapolis is among a number of municipalities considering or trying to overhaul its police department, after a police officer murdered Floyd last year. A day after the former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, was convicted of murder in Floyd’s death, the Justice Department announced it was opening a sweeping investigation into policing practices in Minneapolis.
Before Floyd’s death, the Minneapolis Police Department made national headlines for the killing of Jamar Clark in November 2015 and the killing of Justine Ruszczyk Damond in July 2017. In recent weeks, videos were released that showed Minneapolis officers discussing “hunting” people who were out past curfew during protests last year, and beating a man who had surrendered. –NBC News
Other supporters included Rep. Ilhan Omar (D) and Attorney General Keith Ellison.
Last week, Minneapolis Police Chief Mediara Arradondo, who has been with the department for more than 30 years, voiced his opposition to the ballot amendment, saying that the election could arguably have the most significant impact on the future of public safety in the city.
“To vote on a measure reimagining public safety without a solid plan, and an implementation or direction of work, this is too critical of a time to wish and hope for that help that we need so desperately right now,” Arrandondo said, adding that he “was not expecting some sort of robust detailed word-for-word plan.”
“But at this point, quite frankly, I would take a drawing on a napkin,” he continued. “And I have not seen either.”