Calls from the left to get rid of the Minneapolis Police Department have been heard. In an unprecedented move by the Minneapolis City Council, a police department will be disbanded/abolished.
They summarize their "veto-proof majority" plans to create a "police-free future":
- Decades of police reform efforts have proved that the Minneapolis Police Department cannot be reformed, and will never be accountable for its actions.
- We are here today to begin the process of ending the Minneapolis Police Department and creating new transformative model for cultivating safety in Minneapolis.
- We recognize that we don't have all the answers about what a police-free future looks like, but our community does. We're committing to engaging with every willing community member in the City of Minneapolis over the next year to identify what safety looks like for you.
- We'll be taking intermediate steps towards ending the MPD through the budget process and other policy and budget decisions over the coming weeks and months.
This comes shortly after protesters called out Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and asked him if he would defund the Minneapolis police department. He said no, and was booed out from the massive protest with protesters yelling "shame" and "go home".
This move has been met with derision and ridicule by the political right:
"I wish I had the U-Haul franchise in Minneapolis b/c all the same people will be bugging out to a place not run by loons and I could make a fortune renting one way trucks!" - AR Governor Mike Huckabee
"This is dangerous, counterproductive, and deeply irrational. “Defund the police” is not a call from the fringes of the far left anymore. It has gone from a radical slogan to actual policy in a major American city, within days." - Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw
Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender explained the failure of the police department which led to the decision in favor of protest sentiments:
"We are here today because George Floyd was killed by the Minneapolis Police Department. We are also here because, here in Minneapolis and in cities across the United States, it is clear that our existing system of policing and public safety isn’t working for so many of our neighbors. Our efforts at incremental reform have failed."
Council Member Jeremiah Ellison has hinted at this decision last week as he tweeted "We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department."
We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department.
And 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.
This seems to be the end of one police department that has a track record of abuse of power. Council Member Steve Fletcher gave many examples of "decades-long history of violence and discrimination", saying they can "resolve confusion over a $20 grocery transaction without drawing a weapon or pulling out handcuffs".
Their announcement emphasized the failures of the PD:
MPD’s record for solving serious crimes in the city is consistently low. For example, in 2019, Minneapolis police only cleared 56 percent of cases in which a person was killed. For rapes, the police department’s solve rate is abysmally low. In 2018, their clearance rate for rape was just 22 percent. In other words, four out of every five rapes go unsolved in Minneapolis. Further casting doubt on the department’s commitment to solving sexual assaults, MPD announced last year the discovery of 1,700 untested rape kits spanning 30 years, which officials said had been misplaced.
What is this new approach to public safety? The money spend on the police department will likely go to education, affordable housing, and other social services. New York and Los Angeles, with a PD budget of $6 and $3 billion respectively, have officials signaling they will defund parts of the PD and pursue similar ends.
Law enforcement officers are not equipped to be experts in responding to mental health crises, often leading to tragic results—nationally, about half of police killings involve someone living with mental illness or disability. As a result, public health experts have long advocated for dispatching medical professionals and/or social workers, not armed police, to respond to calls related to substance use and mental health. Polling from Data for Progress indicates that more than two-thirds of voters—68 percent—support the creation of such programs, versions of which are already in place in other cities such as, Eugene, Oregon; Austin, Texas; and Denver, Colorado.
Minneapolis Council President Bender emphasized the goal to end the city's toxic MPD by ending policing as they know it and recreate a public safety system:
“Our commitment is to do what is necessary to keep every single member of our community safe and to tell the truth that the Minneapolis Police are not doing that,” Bender said Sunday. “Our commitment is to end our city’s toxic relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department, to end policing as we know it, and to recreate systems of public safety that actually keep us safe.”
I do support the end of public police who are unaccountable. I welcome a less violent approach to helping people resolve conflict. I am curious how it will work out in the end. One step that would be necessary is to promote the 2nd amendment and allow people to open carry.
Police were never a proper substitute for anyone being able to stop a crime as it happens. Depending on someone else to defend you only fosters weakness in people who depend on someone else to save them while they wait minutes for the alleged help. And many times people who call for help get treated like the criminal, and some end up getting killed.
Private policing may be an option, where accountability would lay in the people themselves choosing to defund a company that misbehaves or provides poor quality service. I wouldn't trust the funds to again be managed by politicians. A yearly or more frequent vote to abolish funding would be prudent. But nothing beats the right to personal self-defense where everyone is able to help defend themselves and others without depending on a centralized force.