As City Council’s Pledge To Abolish Police Collapses, Members Say Vow Was Made ‘In Spirit’
Who could have seen this coming?
The Minneapolis City Council made waves this summer for proudly declaring, to the applause of the anti-police crowd, that it would abolish the Minneapolis Police Department.
Months later, that promise has collapsed.
What is the background?
After the tragic death of George Floyd, the Minneapolis City Council — composed of 12 Democrats and zero Republicans — promised to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with alternative, community-based law enforcement model.
“Yes. We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a transformative new model of public safety,” Council President Lisa Bender said in June.
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
Days later, the majority of the council formally signed a pledge to abolish their city’s police department.
“Decades of police reform efforts have proved that the Minneapolis Police Department cannot be reformed and will never be accountable for its actions,” the council said, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. “We are here today to begin the process of ending the Minneapolis Police Department and creating a new, transformative model for cultivating safety in Minneapolis.”
What’s happening now?
Four months after cementing those promises amid national racial unrest, the some members of the council are now claiming their promises did not really mean what they said they meant.
In fact, according to the New York Times, some council members “would like a do-over.”
Councilor Andrew Johnson, one of the nine members who supported the pledge in June, said in an interview that he meant the words “in spirit,” not by the letter. Another councilor, Phillipe Cunningham, said that the language in the pledge was “up for interpretation” and that even among council members soon after the promise was made, “it was very clear that most of us had interpreted that language differently.”
Lisa Bender, the council president, paused for 16 seconds when asked if the council’s statement had led to uncertainty at a pivotal moment for the city. “I think our pledge created confusion in the community and in our wards,” she said.
As TheBlaze reported, the Minneapolis City Council quickly learned that rhetoric does not translate to functional policy.
During a meeting with Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo earlier this month, council members asked, “Where are the police?”
That’s because Minneapolis is experiencing abnormally high levels of violent crime, leaving residents stuck for law enforcement.
“Residents are asking, ‘Where are the police?'” Councilman Jamal Osman said, Minnesota Public Radio reported. “That is the only public safety option they have at the moment. MPD. They rely on MPD. And they are saying they are nowhere to be seen.”
Author: Chris Enloe