MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Minneapolis voters struck down a proposed charter amendment that would have eliminated the city’s police department and replaced it with a public safety agency.
Fifty-seven percent of voters voted "no" versus 43 percent for "yes" on the ballot question, which asked if the city charter should be amended to remove the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a Department of Public Safety. The proposed charter amendment would have eliminated the minimum police staffing requirement as well as the position of police chief.
The charter amendment was drafted in response to calls to defund or dismantle the police department following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020. It has received national attention and was fought in the courts. Millions of dollars were raised and spent by both supporters and opponents of the proposed charter amendment leading up to Election Day.
Statement from Yes 4 Minneapolis:
"This campaign began with working-class Black and brown residents marching together to demand a higher standard of public safety in the city. It grew into a city-wide movement that spanned race, income, and neighborhoods, to give residents a say in their future and to advocate for the resources that they need. While this is not the result that we hoped for, the story of our movement must be told.
In the freezing Minneapolis winter, we organized and collected over 22,000 signatures to democratically and constitutionally put public safety on the November ballot. We beat multiple frivolous lawsuits by political pawns. We won a Supreme Court ruling after the political establishment resorted to voter suppression and nearly silenced the voices of every resident in the city. We stood against the deep pockets of corporate developers and the pressure of the police federation. We spoke the truth while the opposition, Democrats and Republicans alike, spread lies and mischaracterized our measure to create confusion, distrust, and fear.
Still, we knocked over 100K doors, made almost 200K phone calls, and sent 300K text messages, resulting in over 60k conversations with Minneapolis residents about expanding public safety in the city. This DOES NOT include the work of our 90+ partner organizations and local small businesses.
We changed the conversation about what public safety should look like. We showed the country and the world the power of democracy and the power of the people. Now, we will work to hold leaders and the system accountable. We will work to heal our city and create safer streets for all our communities."
City Question 2: Department of Public Safety
Shall the Minneapolis City Charter be amended to remove the Police Department and replace it with a Department of Public Safety that employs a comprehensive public health approach to the delivery of functions by the Department of Public Safety, with those specific functions to be determined by the Mayor and City Council by ordinance; which will not be subject to exclusive mayoral power over its establishment, maintenance, and command; and which could include licensed peace officers (police officers), if necessary, to fulfill its responsibilities for public safety, with the general nature of the amendments being briefly indicated in the explanatory note below, which is made a part of this ballot?
Explanatory Note: This amendment would create a Department of Public Safety combining public safety functions through a comprehensive public health approach to be determined by the Mayor and Council. The department would be led by a Commissioner nominated by the Mayor and appointed by the Council. The Police Department, and its chief, would be removed from the City Charter. The Public Safety Department could include police officers, but the minimum funding requirement would be eliminated.