MINNEAPOLIS — A member of the Minneapolis City Council revealed this week that he and several other council members are working on finding out what it would take to disband the Minneapolis Police Department.
The announcement from Councilmember Steve Fletcher comes a week after George Floyd died while in police custody in Minneapolis. During an appearance on CNN on Wednesday, he called the city’s police department “ungovernable.”
“The department is ungovernable,” Fletcher said. “Chief (Medaria) Arradondo is a leader that we’ve all had very high hopes in and that I imagined could play a role in envisioning the next version of public safety. But he has clearly not been able to make the culture change happen that we were hoping for and investing in.”
Although it is unclear regarding what it would take to disband the organization, what is clear is that the department is already seeing a reduced role in the protection of the city, denverchannel.com reported.
For instance, on Wednesday, the Minneapolis Park Board voted to terminate its relationship with the department, and the Minneapolis Police will no longer be involved in guarding events on park property.
Fletcher said in a Twitter post that it’s time to “declare policing as we know it a thing of the past.”
“Our city needs a public safety capacity that doesn’t fear our residents,” Fletcher said. “That doesn’t need a gun at a community meeting. That considers itself part of our community. That doesn’t resort quickly to pepper spray when people are understandably angry. That doesn’t murder black men.”
Although tensions exist and emotions are running high, a number of leaders from the black community spoke up to defend Arradondo, according to WCCO-TV. The activists told the news organization that any thought of removing the chief without community input would cause further protest.
Community activist Spike Moss says in his 54-plus years of fighting for civil rights, the Minnesota Department of Civil Rights has never filed a lawsuit on behalf of Black people.
“The civil rights office is supposed to represent us, too. We have no authority, no power and we didn’t write what governs them, and so we are not getting our civil rights protected either,” Moss said.
Community leaders say they believe the the department has no interest in what’s best for the community.
“You will not have us in silence, your will not ignore us, everybody is meeting, everybody is talking to us, nobody is inviting us … we have to stand up for ourselves,” Moss said. “We have to stand up for Chief.”
Furthermore, Fletcher pointed to tensions between the city and police union, amid calls for the city’s police union head to step down.
The Minnesota AFL-CIO issued calls earlier this week calling for Bob Kroll, the Minneapolis Police Union President to step down after he sent a letter to his members referring to the “violent criminal history of George Floyd.”
Police union President Lt. Bob Kroll, commending officers and blasting the protests in a letter to his membership: pic.twitter.com/nZO8tryeqa
— Libor Jany (@StribJany) June 1, 2020
The union’s Facebook page and website are currently offline, which is understandable since critics have multiplied by the thousands.
Earlier this week, Law Officer reported that Minneapolis City Council member Jeremiah Ellison tweeted that he declared his support for ANTIFA after President Trump said that his administration would be declaring it a “Terrorist Organization.”
Jeremiah Ellison is the son of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison who is leading the prosecution team against the Minneapolis police officers.