Minneapolis Commission Blocks Ballot Question On Dismantling Police Department

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Jake Dima Contributor
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The Minneapolis Charter Commission on Wednesday blocked the possibility of a November ballot measure for voters to decide whether to disband the city police department.

Members of the commission claimed the potential ballot item was rushed, the amendment itself was flawed and the proposal gave the city council too much power, according to the Associated Press.

The charter commission also said input from community members who may not have supported the proposal wasn’t properly considered, AP reported.

“It’s appropriate to explore transformational changes in the department, but it needs to be done thoughtfully,” Commissioner Peter Ginder, who voted to suspend the November item, told AP. “That hasn’t been done here.”

Five of the 12 city council members authored the proposal for voters to decide the Minneapolis Police Department’s fate, according to AP, following the death of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for over eight minutes, video showed.

The Charter commission voted 10-5 to take 90 days to reconsider the amendment, the news wire reported.

City council member Jeremiah Ellison, son of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, was one of the more outspoken proponents of dismantling the Minneapolis PD following Floyd’s death. Ellison, one of the five who authored the ballot item, called Charter Commission’s decision undemocratic.

“It is not our legacy to use bureaucratic processes to circumvent the people in an attempt to ‘protect’ voters from themselves,” Jeremiah Ellison told AP. “That is not democracy. In a democracy, the people decide. But I guess today the Charter Commission decided otherwise.”

The city council member said it was “past due” to “dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department” in June Tweet, just days after Floyd died in police custody.

The November item, if it was allowed to proceed and approved by voters, would have effectively replaced police in the city with a “Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention,” which was vaguely described as a more “holistic” approach to policing, according to the news wire. Licensed armed officers would still be allowed to patrol the streets under the changes, AP reported. (RELATED: Not A Single Minneapolis Police Recruit Dropped Out Of Training Amid Riots, Unrest And Defunding)

“There is no democracy denied here. There is no denial of democratic rights. It’s a question of when, not if,” Commissioner Gregory Abbott told AP. “We can fix this. We can get police reform. We just need to find a different avenue to do it in.”

The city council plans to have the ballot item present for the November 2021 election, according to the news wire.

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