Minneapolis City Council unanimously votes to replace the police department

The Minneapolis City Council on Friday unanimously passed a resolution to replace the city's police department with a community-led public safety system.   

The move comes days after a veto-proof majority of the council voted to disband the police department after the country erupted in protest over the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died when a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

The Minneapolis vote was cast as New York City Council pushed to cut $1billion from the NYPD’s budget. 

The gigantic cut to the Big Apple police department's $6billion annual budget could see a reduction in the size of the force from 36,000 to 33,000, while removing functions like school safety and homeless outreach from the police. 

The Minneapolis Police Department is to be disbanded and replaced with a community-led public safety system, the city council voted Friday. Pictured, member of the MPD stand in a line on May 27 while facing protesters demonstrating against the death of George Floyd The City of Minneapolis announced on Friday that it has voted to begin the process of replacing the police department with a community-led public safety system

What will Minneapolis look like without a police department? 

There is no short-term plan to scrap the Minneapolis police department, the city council says

As of Friday, the council have started a year-long process to find recommendations for what will replace it

The replacement is set to be a community-led public safety system that will redirect funds from the department and channel them into community services aimed at preventing crime

Money could be redirected to mental health services, social services, jobs programs, and arts groups

Jobs such as traffic stops, overdose call-outs and mental health calls may be taken away from officers

One recommendation from activists involves a smaller, more-specialized force of 'public servants' who would deal with solving violent crimes

County sheriffs, whose jurisdiction includes Minneapolis, could be used as a stop-gap police force

In Minneapolis, the council voted for the community-led replacement Friday as members felt that the police department as it stands is past reform.  

'The murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, by Minneapolis police officers is a tragedy that shows that no amount of reforms will prevent lethal violence and abuse by some members of the Police Department against members of our community, especially Black people and people of color,' five council members wrote in the resolution.

It added that Floyd's death was one in a 'tragically long list' of people killed by the city's police that had led to 'wave of protests and uprisings across the United States and across the world and has led to thousands of voices asking for change'.

'Today's unanimous City Council resolution advances our shared commitment to transformative change in how Minneapolis approaches public safety so that every member of our community can be truly safe,' said City Council President Lisa Bender. 

'As we respond to demands for immediate action to reduce police violence and support community safety, we will invite our community to help shape long-term transformative change, centering the voices of those most impacted by community violence and police violence.' 

According to the resolution, the city council will now begin a year-long process of engaging 'with every willing community member in Minneapolis' to come up with a new public safety model.

It added that the process would center on 'the voices of Black people, American Indian people, people of color, immigrants, victims of harm, and other stakeholders who have been historically marginalized or under-served by our present system'. 

'Together, we will identify what safety looks like for everyone,' the resolution reads. 

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City Council President Lisa Bender, pictured, said Friday that the resolution 'advances our shared commitment to transformative change in how Minneapolis approaches public safety' The Minneapolis City Council on Friday voted for the city's police department, pictured, to be replaced with a community-led public safety system

The council also commissioned a new work group named the Future of Community Safety Work Group to deliver recommendations by July 24 on how to engage with community stakeholders to transform the public safety system. 

It will be made up of staff from the Office of Violence Prevention, the Department of Civil Rights, and the City Coordinator's Office, in coordination with the 911 Working Group, the Division of Race and Equity, Neighborhood and Community Relations and other relevant departments.

'American democracy is an experiment, each generation has an opportunity to move this experiment forward, toward living out the true meaning of its creed,' said City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins. 

'This resolution represents our moment to contribute to the progression of equality and freedom of every resident of the City of Minneapolis. 

The city's mayor, Jacob Frey, has stopped short of vying to abolish the police department, although he said this week he supported 'massive structural reform to revise a structurally racist system'. 

Friday's resolution said that the council would continue to work will willing partners such as Mayor Frey and Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo as the process of establishing the replacement continues. 

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, pictured, does not support the disbanding of the police department but has called for a different kind of reform to improve accountabilit New York City Council is pushing to cut the NYPD budget by up to $1billion that could see a reduction in the size of the force from 36,000 to 33,000

Elsewhere in New York City, the city council is pushing to cut the force's budget by up to $1billion, according to New York Daily News

The reduced budget could result in a hiring freeze that will decrease the number in the force by 3,000.  

'We believe that we can and should work to get to $1 billion in cuts to New York City’s police spending in the Fiscal 2021 budget, an unprecedented reduction that would not only limit the scope of the NYPD, but also show our commitment towards moving away from the failed policing policies of the past,' said Council Speaker Corey Johnson in a joint statement with the chairs of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus. 

The Council’s Budget Negotiating Team presented to prospective changes to the council members of Thursday and Friday.  

However, Mayor Bill de Blasio has opposed such a large reduction, New York Daily News reports. 

A source told the paper that the council was still making a decision over how the money would redistributed as the city faces a massive loss in tax revenue as a result of the coronavirus shutdown. 

'We’re still negotiating,' they said. 'The key areas obviously would be summer youth employment, education, health care — all of the things that created the disparities around COVID-19.' 

The budget must be approved by the council and the mayor by June 30. 

New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson has supported a $1billion cut to New York City’s police spending in the 2021 budget, a move he said would help the city to 'show our commitment towards moving away from the failed policing policies of the past' Protesters demanding change in the wake of the death of George Floyd outside the Minnesota State Capitol Friday where a special session of the legislature was about to begin

The Minneapolis city council's decision came as key Republican lawmakers in the Minnesota state Senate that they'll block most of the ambitious changes Democrats want to make to policing in the state where Floyd died. 

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and the chairman of the Senate judiciary committee, Warren Limmer, laid out their agenda shortly before the Legislature convened for a special session. 

They said there's only a limited amount of time to act because they intend to adjourn next Friday no matter what. 

That would effectively force the state House to adjourn too, but Gazelka said lawmakers would continue to work on bigger changes.

'Minnesota has the opportunity to lead the way for the whole nation for reconciliation of the races and some of the problems we're addressing,' Gazelka said. 'Let's begin here.' 

Minnesota is one of several states where Democratic lawmakers and governors are hoping to harness the anger over Floyd´s death to remake law enforcement, including by adding new restrictions on the use of force.  

The movement to 'defund the police,' as some advocates have termed it, predates the current protests. 

State legislatures have been slow to tackle those issues, however, since they were thrust into the spotlight by a wave of police killings of young black men in 2014, including Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. 

Yet the movement has won new support since a video of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee to the neck of Floyd horrified viewers around the world.