MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - All 12 members of the Minneapolis City Council co-authored and introduced a resolution Friday “declaring the intent to create a transformative new model for cultivating safety” in the city. The resolution is the first official step from the council after a nine-member majority announced their support for dismantling the Minneapolis Police Department at a Powderhorn Park rally over the weekend.
The council’s resolution offers a still-loose answer to the big question: What is the plan?
The city council will launch a year-long process of “community engagement, research and structural change,” specifically seeking input from people of color, American Indian people, immigrants and victims of harm.
“Decades of police reform efforts have not created equitable public safety in our community, and our efforts to achieve transformative public safety will not be deterred by the inertia of existing institutions, contracts, and legislation,” the council wrote.
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The process will “center the role of healing and reconciliation” with a call for leadership from elders, youth, artists and community organizers. The city council will work with the mayor’s office, the police chief, Hennepin County and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights on the public safety transformation.
The first deadline for progress set by the city council is July 24. On that date, the council expects a new Future of Community Safety Work Group to report back with “a set of preliminary recommendations for engaging with specific cultural and stakeholder groups, the community at large and relevant experts that can partner with the city to help Minneapolis transition to a transformative new model for cultivating community safety, including budget and resource need estimates for the process.”
The council calls for a potential, newly-formed City Department of Community Safety, “with a holistic approach to community safety, including a review and analysis of relevant existing models and programs and practices that could be applied in Minneapolis.”
The resolution from the full city council doesn’t carry the same language as the marches on the city’s streets or the statements at the Powderhorn Park rally, in which Councilmember Jeremiah Ellison said, "This council is going to dismantle this police department,” and Councilmember Alondra Cano said they would "abolish the Minneapolis Police system as we know it."
Council members have mentioned Milwaukee, Baltimore and Louisville as cities that have had success with Office of Violence Prevention models.
By Bender, Jenkins, Reich, Gordon, Fletcher, Cunningham, Ellison, Goodman, Cano, Schroeder, Johnson, and Palmisano
Declaring the intent to create a transformative new model for cultivating safety in our city.
Whereas, police violence and the use of excessive force have led to community destabilization, a decrease in public safety, and the exacerbation of racial inequities in Minneapolis; and
Whereas, police use-of-force is among the leading causes of death for young men of color, and Black people, including Black women, girls, queer, trans and nonbinary folks, disabled people, American Indians, immigrants, and Latinos are killed by police at disproportionately higher rates than their white peers; and
Whereas, use of force by the Minneapolis Police Department exposes the City of Minneapolis to legal and financial vulnerability with settlements in excess of $24 million in the past three years; and
Whereas, the University of Minnesota, the Minneapolis Park Board, the Minneapolis School Board, the Walker, Minneapolis Institute of Art, and private businesses have announced an end to their relationship and contracts with the Minneapolis Police Department in the past two weeks; and
Whereas, Chief Medaria Arradondo has made good-faith efforts within the existing system to improve public safety for all communities in Minneapolis, and is a respected and integral leader in bringing forward this much needed transformation; and
Whereas, the City of Minneapolis has taken many steps to reform the Minneapolis Police Department, including but not limited to creation of civilian oversight bodies, implicit bias and de-escalation training for officers, prohibiting “warrior”-style trainings, prohibiting the types of holds that led to the death of George Floyd, adoption of a duty to intervene, the addition of body cameras for all officers, and many more; and
Whereas, the City of Minneapolis has invested in public health and community safety beyond policingstrategies including evidence-based violence prevention programs like Next Step and invested in communitybased safety systems, innovative diversion and domestic violence programs in our City Attorney’s office, and the establishment of the Office of Violence Prevention to coordinate this work; and
Whereas, the City of Minneapolis established a 911 Work Group to analyze 911 call dispatch categories and determine whether there are opportunities to expand the City’s ability to respond to those calls beyond the Minneapolis Police Department, which generated 50 ideas and six recommendations to pursue, and is continuing its work this year by prototyping new responses to mental health calls, and reporting; and further explore 911 call options beyond the Minneapolis Police Department; and
Whereas, the adopted 2020 budget allocated $193 million to the Minneapolis Police Department, which represents over 36% of the City’s General Fund of $532.3 million, and is more than twice as much as the combined City budgets for workforce development, building affordable housing, homeownership support, small business support programs, environmental sustainability, race equity, arts and culture, violence prevention, family and early childhood support, youth development, senior services, lead poisoning prevention, infectious disease prevention, and protection of civil rights; and
Whereas, the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, by Minneapolis police officers, is a tragedy that shows that no amount of reforms will prevent lethal violence and abuse by some members of the Police Department against members of our community, especially Black people and people of color; and
Whereas, George Floyd was not the first person killed by Minneapolis police, but joins a tragically long list of names including Tycel Nelson, Barbara Schneider, Fong Lee, David Cornelius Smith, Terrance Franklin, Jamar Clark, Justine Ruszczyk-Damond, Thurman Blevins, Travis Jordan, Chiasher Fong Vue, and others; and
Whereas, the murder of George Floyd set off a wave of protests and uprisings across the United States and across the world and has led to thousands of voices asking for change;
Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved by The City Council of The City of Minneapolis:
That the City Council will commence a year long process of community engagement, research, and structural change to create a transformative new model for cultivating safety in our city.
Be It Further Resolved that the City Council will engage with every willing community member in Minneapolis, centering the voices of Black people, American Indian people, people of color, immigrants, victims of harm, and other stakeholders who have been historically marginalized or under-served by our present system. Together, we will identify what safety looks like for everyone.
Be It Further Resolved that the process will center the role of healing and reconciliation. The process will require healers, elders, youth, artists, and organizers to lead deep community engagement on race and public safety. We will work with local and national leaders on transformative justice in partnerships informed by the needs of every block in our city.
Be It Further Resolved that decades of police reform efforts have not created equitable public safety in our community, and our efforts to achieve transformative public safety will not be deterred by the inertia of existing institutions, contracts, and legislation.
Be It Further Resolved that these efforts heed the words of Angela Davis, “In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist. We must be anti-racist.”
Be It Further Resolved that the transformation under consideration has a citywide impact, and will be conducted by the City Council in a spirit of collaboration and transparency with all constructive stakeholder contributors including the Mayor’s Office, the Police Chief, Hennepin County, and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.
Be It Further Resolved that the City Council hereby creates a Future of Community Safety Work Group, to include staff from the Office of Violence Prevention, the Department of Civil Rights, the City Coordinator’s Office, in coordination with the 911 Working Group, the Division of Race and Equity, Neighborhood and Community Relations and other relevant departments and directs the Work Group to do the following:
1. Report back to the Council by July 24, 2020 with a set of preliminary recommendations for engaging with specific cultural and stakeholder groups, the community at large and relevant experts that can partner with the City to help Minneapolis transition to a transformative new model for cultivating community safety, including budget and resource need estimates for the process, and
2. With regular reports to the City Council, develop and present strategies for building this new model for cultivating community safety, building on and acknowledging the work of the Police Conduct Oversight Commission, the Office of Violence Prevention, the Audit Committee, and the 911 Work Group, and community-based organizations including but not limited to:
a. Intermediate policy changes, investments and partnerships that center a public health approach to community safety and support alternatives to policing;
b. Research and engagement to inform the potential creation of a new City Department of Community Safety with a holistic approach to community safety, including a review and analysis of relevant existing models and programs and practices that could be applied in Minneapolis;
c. Recommendations that advance the work of the 911 working group and other strategies for transitioning work of the Minneapolis Police Department to alternative, more appropriate responses to community requests for help and identifying the resources needed to perform this work in City departments, other agencies, and/or community partners while the work of creating a new public safety system is in progress; and
d. Recommendations for additional community safety strategies that build upon existing work across our city enterprise that approaches public safety through a public health lens.