The Minneapolis city council has pledged to disband the city’s police department and replace it with a new system of public safety, reports The Guardian.
Speaking at a community rally on Sunday, a veto-proof majority of council members declared their intent to “dismantle” and “abolish” the embattled police agency responsible for George Floyd’s death – and build an alternative model of community-led safety. The decision is a direct response to the massive protests that have taken over American cities in the last two weeks, and is a major victory for abolitionist activists who have long fought to disband police and prisons.
Nine council members announced their support and represent a supermajority on the twelve-person council, meaning the mayor, who earlier this weekend opposed disbanding the department, cannot override them. The remaining three council members are broadly supportive of the effort as well, but weren’t ready to sign on, activists said. The formal effort to abolish a major-city police department in America and replace it with a different model of safety would have been unthinkable even weeks ago and is a testament to the impact of the protests that began with Floyd’s death on 25 May. The unarmed 46-year-old was killed by Minneapolis police when an officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes as he pleaded for him to stop. Four officers now face criminal charges.