WASHINGTON (Xinhua) — The Minneapolis City Council on Sunday voted to dismantle the city’s police department, of which four former officers were charged over their involvement in the death of an unarmed black man that triggered widespread global protests.
Nine members — a veto-proof supermajority — of the 13-member council voted to disband the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), which has long been accused of racism.
“Our commitment is to end our city’s toxic relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department, to end policing as we know it, and to re-create systems of public safety that actually keep us safe,” Lisa Bender, president of the city council, said at a community meeting with activists in Powderhorn Park on Sunday.
In a statement, members of the council said that “decades of police reform efforts have proved that the Minneapolis Police Department cannot be reformed, and will never be accountable for its actions.”
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said in a statement that he will work “toward deep, structural reform and addressing systemic racism in police culture.”
Stressing that the city authorities will engage in “more community-led, public safety strategies,” the mayor added “I do not support abolishing the Minneapolis Police Department.”
The city council’s decision came as calls for ending police violence mounted in the wake of the death of George Floyd on May 25 at the hands of four officers of the MPD, with one of them kept his knee down on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes. All of the four officers have been fired, facing criminal charges.
Floyd’s death has since triggered protests against police brutality and racial injustice that not only spread across the United States, but also spilled over to other parts of the world.
The Minneapolis City Council’s move also came on the heels of an announcement by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz on Tuesday, in which he said the state’s Department of Human Rights will launch an investigation into the MPD’s “policies, procedures, and practices over the past 10 years to determine if they engaged in systemic discriminatory practices.”