Since the protests began in late May regarding the murder of George Floyd, the conversation has since shifted around the argument that police departments should be disbanded. This weekend, the protests seemed to draw bipartisan support as both Senator Mitt Romney (R) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D) were both photographed taking part in marches. However, on Sunday, it was reported that the Minneapolis city council majority was going to back the idea of disbanding or abolishing the police force, so the question on everybody’s minds is now how will people be kept safe?
In speaking to marchers, Rep. Omar commented that “the Minneapolis Police Department is rotten to the root and so when we dismantle it, we get rid of that cancer and we allow for something beautiful to rise.”
And, that’s exactly what the city council plans on doing as Lisa Bender, the Council president, made an announcement at a Black Visions Collective and Reclaim the Block rally at Powderhorn Park Sunday, saying that the goal is to “end our city’s toxic relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department.” Bender added that “it’s our commitment to end policing as we know it and recreate systems of public safety that actually keep us safe.”
As well, over the weekend, Steve Fletcher, a Ward 3 councilor, released an op-ed that provided some details as to what alternatives could be, noting that mental health professions could be dispatched to crisis calls regarding mental health situations, fire department EMTs could be dispatched to respond to opioid overdose calls and traffic-related offenses could be dealt with through an increase in camera coverage and dispatching the city’s street parking teams.
Detractors have voiced their disagreement on social media, calling the move dangerous and warning of the concerns that disbanding police departments across the United States could bring.
It will be interesting to see how many more municipalities push for the abolishment of law enforcement.