The tragic death of George Floyd has rocked our country and caused incredible amounts of polarization. Protestors, as well as city officials, are now calling for police departments to be defunded and dismantled.
On Sunday afternoon Minneapolis City Council members announced their decision to disband the Minneapolis Police Department. In an overwhelming majority, nine of the thirteen council members committed to replacing the police with what council President Lisa Bender dubs “a transformative new model of public safety.”
Yes. We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a transformative new model of public safety. https://t.co/FCfjoPy64k
— Lisa Bender (@lisabendermpls) June 4, 2020
You’re probably wondering what exactly a new model of safety will look like—so are we. The council has not yet released a definitive plan for destroying and restructuring the department that employs 800. When asked in an interview with CNN “What if in the middle of [the] night, my home is broken into? Who do I call?” Bender couldn’t seem to answer, saying only “I mean, I hear that loud and clear from a lot of my neighbors.” She went on to say, “And I know— and myself, too, and I know that that comes from a place of privilege. Because for those of us for whom the system is working, I think we need to step back and imagine what it would feel like to already live in that reality where calling the police may mean more harm is done.”
Among those waiting for answers is Anoka County Sheriff James Stuart who took to FaceBook to say “if they choose to eliminate their police department through defunding operations without a realistic plan, they must also choose to live with the consequences of their decisions.” Stuart continued, “we are one of many agencies who have no appetite for going back to their city to restore order again; especially if their decision is to actively compromise the safety of the city.”
Unconfirmed reports claim that Minneapolis officers have commenced to quitting, saying “you’re on your own.” This would not mark the first time police officers have resigned in response to recent attacks. After two officers were charged with assault in Buffalo, New York, the entirety of the Emergency Response Team quit the unit.
Minneapolis Police Department says 24 officers quit today & 46 are taking early retirement.
Their words before they left were:
“You’re on your own”
— BraveHeart (@Braveheart_USA) June 7, 2020
The timeline and specifics of the plan to disband the Minneapolis Police Department remain unknown. There has been little done to soothe the fear of Minneapolis residents following this announcement. Hopefully as time progresses, city councilmembers will rethink their brash actions and come up with a more sustainable plan, one more mindful of the safety of their constituents.