Minneapolis residents reject proposal to replace police department
Minneapolis voters on Tuesday rejected a proposal to switch town’s police division with a Division of Public Security, The Related Press projected. The result’s a blow to the nationwide motion to overtake policing spurred by the demise of George Floyd a yr and a half in the past.
The poll initiative would have amended town’s constitution to take away a requirement that the police division preserve a minimal of officers.
It requested residents whether or not the police division ought to be changed with a Division of Public Security “that employs a complete public well being strategy to the supply of features by the Division of Public Security,” the specifics of which might be decided by the mayor and Metropolis Council.
Supporters mentioned the measure would cut back the function of armed cops in calls involving homeless folks, psychological well being points and substance use, although they’d nonetheless be a part of the brand new division and would reply to violent crime.
Opponents of the measure criticized the poll language for saying that the brand new division “might embrace” licensed cops, if needed, to meet its public security duties.
At a media briefing Tuesday, JaNaé Bates, a minister and spokesperson for Sure 4 Minneapolis, the coalition that petitioned to place the merchandise on the poll, mentioned the group will proceed to push for an overhaul of the police division no matter whether or not the poll initiative passes.
“If the folks of Minneapolis vote no, that does imply that the disinformation marketing campaign has gained out for this battle. And it implies that this battle continues,” she mentioned. “We are going to most definitely proceed transferring ahead.”
Sure 4 Minneapolis has mentioned a brand new, revamped division would make town safer.
In response to a current ballot by native media retailers, 33 p.c of residents had favorable opinions of the police whereas 53 p.c had unfavorable opinions.
Minneapolis is amongst a variety of municipalities contemplating or attempting to overtake its police division, after a police officer murdered Floyd final yr. A day after the previous Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, was convicted of homicide in Floyd’s demise, the Justice Division introduced it was opening a sweeping investigation into policing practices in Minneapolis.
Earlier than Floyd’s demise, the Minneapolis Police Division made nationwide headlines for the killing of Jamar Clark in November 2015 and the killing of Justine Ruszczyk Damond in July 2017. In current weeks, movies have been launched that confirmed Minneapolis officers discussing “searching” individuals who have been out previous curfew throughout protests final yr, and beating a person who had surrendered.
Minneapolis is amongst a variety of municipalities contemplating or attempting to overtake its police division, following the demise of Floyd final yr.
The poll measure divided the local people.
Final week, Police Chief Medaria Arradondo mentioned that he didn’t help the poll modification and that the election might arguably have probably the most consequential impression on the way forward for public security in Minneapolis.
Arradondo, who has been a member of the division for greater than 30 years, mentioned he was by no means requested for his enter into the proposed constitution modification.
He delivered his remarks in full uniform whereas standing in entrance of a backdrop that includes the division’s brand.
“To vote on a measure reimagining public security and not using a stable plan, and an implementation or path of labor, that is too vital of a time to want and hope for that assist that we’d like so desperately proper now,” Arradondo mentioned, including that he “was not anticipating some kind of sturdy detailed word-for-word plan.”
“However at this level, fairly frankly, I’d take a drawing on a serviette,” he mentioned. “And I’ve not seen both.”
Arradondo mentioned that, amongst different issues, the poll initiative wouldn’t stop tragic incidents between police and members of the neighborhood from ever occurring, that it will not “instantly” change the police division’s tradition in a single day and that it will not make it simpler to recruit, rent or retain officers.
Sure 4 Minneapolis, the coalition of companies and organizations that petitioned to place the merchandise on the poll, has mentioned a brand new, revamped division would make town safer. Corenia Smith, the marketing campaign supervisor for the coalition, criticized Arradondo final week for delivering his remarks in uniform, saying that doing so was “in specific contradiction of the coverage he himself wrote final yr.”
She added that Arradondo’s information convention revealed “why structural change is crucial to maintain the folks of Minneapolis protected and to implement an accountable and clear relationship with those that are known as to guard and serve.”