Nearly two weeks after the death of George Floyd at the hand of Minneapolis police, a veto-proof majority of the Minneapolis City Council pledged to "dismantle" the city's police department and "start fresh with a community-oriented, non-violent public safety and outreach capacity," as Council Member Steve Fletcher put it in a TIME op-ed on Friday (6/5). The nine councilmembers announced the news at a rally in Powderhorn Park on Sunday (6/7). The New York Times has more:
Nine members — a veto-proof majority — of the Minneapolis City Council pledged on Sunday to dismantle the city’s Police Department, promising to create a new system of public safety in a city where law enforcement has long been accused of racism.
Saying that the city’s current policing system could not be reformed, the council members stood before hundreds of people who gathered late in the day on a grassy hill, and signed a pledge to begin the process of taking apart the Police Department as it now exists.
For activists who have been pushing for years for drastic changes to policing, the move represented a turning point that they hoped would lead to a complete transformation of public safety in the city.
“It shouldn’t have taken so much death to get us here,” Kandace Montgomery, the director of Black Vision, said from the stage at the rally. “We’re safer without armed, unaccountable patrols supported by the state hunting black people.”
CNN spoke to councilmember Lisa Bender at the rally, and asked her to clarify what exactly it means to dismantle the department, and Bender replied, "Instead of investing in more policing, that we invest in those alternatives, those community-based strategies." She added, "We found that people need mental health services, they need health services, EMT, and fire, so we've already started to shift those responses away from an armed police officer to these other community resources, and that's what I think about when I imagine where we're going forward in Minneapolis."
All four police officers involved in Floyd's killing -- Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane -- have been charged in Floyd's murder. Chauvin was charged with second degree murder, and the other three with charged with "aiding and abetting murder."
Earlier today, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio also pledged to cut NYPD funding and shift the focus to youth and social services.