News & Politics

Minneapolis City Council Votes to Disband the Police

Minneapolis Police Union President Lt. Bob Kroll (Elizabeth Flores/Star Tribune via AP)

By a 12-0 vote, the Minneapolis City Council voted to disband the city’s beleaguered police department. What’s going to replace the police? That’s OK. They don’t know either.

Yes, but it’s what the black activists want, so better give them what they’re asking for rather than face the consequences.

Actually, the council members have a nebulous notion of how this “reimagining the police” will go. And frankly, I don’t think it’s going to work out very well for them.

MSN:

 Draft language of the amendment posted online would replace the department with a Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention, “which will have responsibility for public safety services prioritizing a holistic, public health-oriented approach.”

The amendment goes on to say the director of the new agency would have “non-law-enforcement experience in community safety services, including but not limited to public health and/or restorative justice approaches.” It also provides for a division of licensed peace officers, who would answer to the department’s director.

Mayor Jacob Frey opposes the amendment. He may be a cowardly wretch, but he apparently isn’t stupid.

Frey expressed concerns about the proposed amendment as currently drafted, including whether the change would eliminate police altogether or allow for a police presence going forward. He also said that when something currently goes wrong, the chief and the mayor are accountable — but under the new plan, accountability would be dispersed among 14 people. Frey also questioned whether policing practices would vary, based on ward or other factors.

With 14 people accountable for the actions of the police department, no one will be accountable.

That’s the first rule of bureaucracy. Create so many layers that no one can be blamed if things go south. It was very effective in Communist countries back in the ’50s and ’60s and it should work just as well in Minneapolis.

Activists aren’t satisfied, of course.

Miski Noor, an organizer with Black Visions, criticized the proposed amendment for creating a division of licensed peace officers at all. She said it “would give current and former police way too much power to shape public safety in Minneapolis.”

What happens if someone calls 911?

Fletcher said under the new agency when someone calls 911, there will always be a response that’s appropriate, including the option for a response by employees authorized to use force. But he said the vast majority of calls that police officers currently take will be answered by employees with different expertise.

Ask any police officer about innocent-sounding 911 calls that turn into a dangerous situation. Instead of sending armed policemen, they’re going to send an unarmed social worker.  But it will be alright. It won’t happen that often and when it does, well, the social worker can call the conflict resolution employee. If the guy with the gun holds off on shooting the social worker long enough, but the conflict resolution employee can’t defuse the situation, they can all just go home and pretend it didn’t happen.

The police department reimagined.

The amendment now has to go before the policy committee and then the Charter Commission before going on the ballot to be voted up or down by citizens. There are questions about whether there’s enough time before November to get it all done.

But with a spate of shootings and murders since the riots ended, people in the Twin Cities are asking themselves, is this really what we want?