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Members of the Minneapolis city council have pledged to dismantle the city’s police department

PHOTO CREDITS: LAYLAH AMATULLAH BARRAYN/NEW YORK TIMES

Members of the Minneapolis city council have pledged to dismantle the city’s police department and replace it with a new community-based system of public safety, according to the Guardian. The Minneapolis police department has come under fire in recent weeks due to its role in the death of George Floyd, among other police forces in major cities around the country where protesters have pointed to as centers of racial injustice. Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey expressed doubts when asked if he would demolish the police department, but nine city council members have vowed to dismantle the department, which would be enough to override Frey’s veto to the bill. Minneapolis councilman Jeremiah Ellison tweeted that the city will dismantle the police department, stating that “when we’re done, we’re not simply gonna glue it back together. We are going to dramatically rethink how we approach public safety and emergency response.” ~

“Defund the police” has become a rallying cry in the protests that have roiled the US following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. Some have interpreted the slogan to mean abolishing the police, while others say it would instead be a radical reprioritization in which police budgets are allocated to other agencies that focus on providing aid to people facing poverty, mental health, or problems of addiction. Supporters of defunding the police say that police are currently required to handle situations that they are not trained to deal with, such as moving on homeless people, domestic verbal disputes, and child disciplinary problems in schools, which they say often results in violent and sometimes deadly confrontations. ~

The city has not yet provided any details of what a new law enforcement system may look like, but Minneapolis city council president Lisa Bender has said that there will still be a police department in the short term. However, she did say that most 911 calls in the city are related to medical emergencies and mental health problems, which will be prioritized in new funding. While a smaller police force may stay, Bender says it won’t be the default body interacting with the community at a time of crisis. ~

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