Minneapolis, MN – A majority of the Minneapolis City Council has announced plans to defund and disband the city’s police department. J. Cole, who participated in protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd, commented on this significant development as the news began to spread on Sunday (June 7).
“Powerful powerful,” he wrote Twitter.
Powerful powerful. https://t.co/h3dCOEmEjS
— J. Cole (@JColeNC) June 7, 2020
Although drastic policing reform has garnered support among the city council, any dismantling of the department won’t happen overnight. According to CBS Minnesota, Minneapolis’ city charter requires the council to fund a police force that’s proportionate to the population.
To amend the charter, a vote in the next election would likely be required. As it currently stands, CBS Minnesota notes the charter calls for roughly 723 officers based on recent estimates.
“We’re not going to tomorrow all the sudden have nobody for you to call for help,” Council Member Phillipe Cunningham said. “There will be thoughtful and intentional work that’s done, research engagement, learning that happens in a transition that will happen over time.”
But the council will be able to enact some changes in the more immediate future. This month, lawmakers are scheduled to revise the city budget due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This will provide them with an opportunity to address police department funding.
“Police are not the right response for a myriad of issues: mental health crises, domestic violence calls, opioid overdoses,” Cunningham stated.
Council President Lisa Bender noted, “Our commitment is to end our city’s toxic relationship with the police department, to end policing as we know it.”
Four Minneapolis police officers were fired and now face charges for their roles in the death of George Floyd. Derek Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder without intent, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.