Charter amendment working group digs into details of dismantling the Minneapolis Police Department

Since the death of George Floyd, the Minneapolis City Council vowed to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department. Now, a work group will help decide whether that question should be put to voters.

The current city charter requires a certain number of officers per resident, but the City Council approved an amendment that would scratch the word “police” from the charter and replace it with a Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention that could, but wouldn’t have to, include a division of law enforcement with licensed officers.

Some details, including what parts of the department respond to what calls, are still being discussed.

By state law, the Charter Commission must weigh in on the amendment before the city council can put it on the November ballot. In a virtual meeting, a Charter Commission Public Safety working group met for the first time to set the parameters for its work and a timeline to make a recommendation to the city council.

The working group can either accept or reject the amendment, make a substitute amendment or say it needs more time. In the end, however, the city council will decide whether voters get to have a say.

A public hearing on the charter amendment is already scheduled for next Wednesday, but the work group scheduled a second public hearing for July 21 at 6 p.m.

The Charter Commission has invited the Mayor and City Council to its meeting Wednesday to ask questions about the charter amendment.