Minneapolis council agrees to replace police with community model
Minneapolis (AFP) - The heads of government of Minneapolis unanimously voted on Friday to dismantle the US city police force and replace them with a "community" security department. This is in response to changes demanded in mass protests against racial injustices.
The plan comes three weeks after the death of African American George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, a murder that sparked widespread calls for police reform.
The Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved a resolution instructing it to "initiate a one-year process of community engagement, research and structural change to create a transformative new model for promoting security in our city."
"The murder of George Floyd ... by police officers in Minneapolis is a tragedy that shows that no reform will prevent lethal violence and abuse by some members of the police force against members of our community, especially black and black people," added the resolution.
"Together we will find out what security looks like for everyone."
The Council will bring together stakeholders who deal with violence prevention, civil rights, racial justice, community relations and emergency services.
The move takes place days after the council, with a veto-secure majority, has agreed to dissolve the police and to create a community-oriented replacement. The vote on Friday is the next step in formalizing the move.
"If we respond to calls for immediate action to reduce police violence and support community security, we will invite our community to help shape long-term transformative change and center the voices of those most affected by community violence and Police violence is affected, "said the President of the City Council said Lisa Bender.
Bender and other council members said they intend to present the police removal plan to Minneapolis voters in the November 3 election.
Some activists have described the wider effort as a movement to "disappoint the police".
Others have balked at the language, saying the authorities should reform the troubled police force and not completely discard it.
Fourteen uniformed Minneapolis police officers signed an open letter Thursday condemning the actions of their former colleague and Floyd's murderer Derek Chauvin.
"This is not who we are," they wrote.
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