Politics

Ilhan Omar Votes To Abolish Minneapolis Police Department And Replace It With Department Of Public Safety

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Reporter
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Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar voted Tuesday to abolish the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), she announced on Twitter.

If enacted, City Question 2 would abolish MPD and replace it with a Department of Public Safety. The Department of Public Safety would “employ a comprehensive public health approach to the delivery of [its] functions,” according to the referendum question. It “could include police officers, but the minimum funding requirement would be eliminated.”

Omar claimed that the amendment “puts control of Minneapolis’ public safety in the hands of residents” and “would not eliminate police.” Although the amendment does not require the elimination of police, it would allow the city council to do so. The current Minneapolis City Charter requires 0.0017 police officers per resident. If adopted, Question 2 would eliminate this requirement.

Following the murder of George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis City Council voted to eliminate the city’s police department, ultimately cutting its funding by more than $7 million. Residents later sued the city after a massive crime spike, leading a Hennepin County District Court judge to order Minneapolis to hire more police officers. The funding cuts forced the police department below the legally-mandated officer-to-civilian ratio. (RELATED: Six Months After Minneapolis Pledged To Dismantle The Police, Residents Grapple With Triple Digit Increase In Carjackings)

Omar, the whip for the Congressional Progressive Caucus, voted against allocating funds to the Capitol Police Department for increased overtime and new gear in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. She also ripped Barack Obama when the former president criticized the political effectiveness of the “Defund the Police” slogan.

Omar has also described MPD as “a joke,” and claimed that “violence is a basic part of police interactions with communities of color.