Minneapolis City Council Surprised by Rise in Violence After Moving To Abolish Police Department
There has been a rise in reports of violent crimes in Minneapolis in the months following a City Council vote to put a charter amendment abolishing the city’s police department on the November ballot.
During a meeting Tuesday, council members told police Chief Medaria Arradondo about constituents’ concerns about car crashes, carjackings, robberies, assaults and shootings that have been happening in broad daylight.
“Residents are asking, ‘Where are the police?'” council member Jamal Osman said.
“That is the only public safety option they have at the moment. MPD. They rely on MPD. And they are saying they are nowhere to be seen,” the Democrat said.
The number of people who have been killed in Minneapolis in the first nine months of 2020 is higher than those who were killed in all of 2019, according to Minneapolis Police Department crime data reported by MPR News.
Burglaries, auto thefts and other property crimes are also up compared with last year.
Incidents of arson have increased 55 percent since September 2019.
Arradondo told the council members that the department has implemented several measures to combat the rise in crime, including adding more officers and cracking down on robberies.
Council President Lisa Bender, who led the effort to abolish the MPD, claimed the officers were being defiant and said she’d been told they had admitted to purposely not arresting people.
Arradondo said that was “troubling to hear,” MPR reported.
“We need to make sure that our communities know that we are going to be there, that we’re going to be responsive,” he said. “We’ve taken an oath to do that.”
According to the police chief, about 100 officers have left the department or taken leave since the beginning of 2020, more than double the usual number.
City Council members in June unanimously approved sending a proposed charter amendment to dismantle the police department to a public commission to put on the November ballot, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The council proposed replacing the department with a Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention, which would take “a holistic, public-health-oriented approach,” according to CNN.
“We committed to dismantling policing as we know it in the city of Minneapolis and to rebuild with our community a new model of public safety that actually keeps our community safe,” Bender told CNN at the time.
However, the Minneapolis Charter Commission voted in August that it needed more time to review the plan, and it will not be on the November ballot.
Council member Phillipe Cunningham criticized his colleagues for seeming to go back and forth on what they want for the future of the police department.
“What I am sort of flabbergasted by right now is colleagues, who a very short time ago were calling for abolition, are now suggesting we should be putting more resources and funding into [the Minneapolis Police Department],” Cunningham said.https://t.co/L2hUCbLypR
— Logan Dobson (@LoganDobson) September 16, 2020
“What I am sort of flabbergasted by right now is colleagues, who a very short time ago were calling for abolition, are now suggesting we should be putting more resources and funding into MPD,” Cunningham said.
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