MINNEAPOLIS, MN – In their continued effort to “reimagine policing,” a policy committee within the Minneapolis City Council has pushed for a measure to be added to the ballot allowing citizens to vote on whether they want to replace the police department.
The measure was submitted by an advocacy group called “Yes 4 Minneapolis Committee” and, if passed, will bring a “comprehensive public health approach” to public safety. Rather than police departments, the measure says, the city charter would call for “public safety departments.”
However, the measure doesn’t explain exactly what that means or how public safety will actually be accomplished.
The measure was passed for approval to be added to the ballot with a vote of 11-2 by the policy and government oversight committee. The full council will now vote on the addition, and if approved there, the measure will appear on the November ballot for residents to vote on.
Councilmember Steve Fletcher, following the addition of the measure, said, “I am persuaded that this is not going to get better with another two weeks. I’m persuaded that this language is a version of describing the intention of the petitioner and 20,000 people who signed the petition saying they want to create a significant change and that we should put it on the ballot. So I’m going to go ahead and move for approval of language as is.”
It’s unclear, however, what the consequences would be of simply accepting the measure with the current language and approving it with no action plan on how to replace the police the measure seeks to abolish.
The website for Yes 4 Minneapolis Committee states, “Our movement demands our city leaders move away from violent policing to create a department that addresses community safety holistically and with a public health approach. Our movement believes that the community should decide what safety looks like. To do so, we must amend the city charter that was written in 1961 and forces us to build on a broken system.”
The committee is made up of coalitions of different groups, including the ACLU of Minnesota, “racial justice” groups, and the Sex Workers Outreach Project of Minneapolis, which is a “social justice” group that is “dedicated to the fundamental human rights of people involved in the sex trade and their communities, focusing on ending violence and stigma through education and advocacy.”
This piece was written by Leah Anaya on July 22, 2021. It originally appeared in ThinBlueLineTV.com and is used by permission.
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