Minneapolis’ left-leaning City Council members on Sunday announced a veto-proof push to disband the Minneapolis police department, ramping up a major conflict inside the city following the death of George Floyd while in police custody.
Many activists have been pushing at least for their cities to defund local police departments, a move many other analysts considered unrealistic. The measure has been the main focus for many people protesting against police brutality.
The city council members spoke at a protest at Powderhorn Park, a neighborhood in Minneapolis. The number of supporters in attendance represented a veto-proof majority to push the measure through, Fox 9 reported.
KARE listed Council President Lisa Bender, VP Andrea Jenkins and Councilmembers Alondra Cano, Jeremiah Ellison, Steve Fletcher, Phillipe Cunningham, Cam Gordon and Jeremy Schroeder as attending the event, most of whom took turns to address the gathered crowd. Ellison is the son of state Attorney General Keith Ellison. Most members of the city council belonged to the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party.
“Our commitment is to end our city’s toxic relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department,” Bender said. “It is clear that our system of policing is not keeping our communities safe. Our efforts at incremental reform have failed, period.”
However, Ellison more clearly stated the intent of those gathered.
“This council is going to dismantle the police department,” Ellison reportedly said. “If you don’t stay in this fight I fear that this council or another will just glue it back together.”
The Minneapolis Police Department did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment. NYPD Detectives President Paul DiGiacomo said earlier Sunday that defunding any police departments would be a “recipe for disaster.”
Comments from members of the activist group Black Visions compared the police system to that of slavery, saying, “When abolitionists fought for the end of slavery, a lot of white people said it was impossible. But, there were visionaries who knew it was possible; it was worth it. We are here to make history today; to rebuild our city on a different foundation.”
At the end of the rally, the crowd gathered at Powderhorn Park began a chant of “Defund, MPD.”
Fox News’ Joshua Nelson contributed to this report.