'Uncharted territory': Minneapolis City Council brainstorms plan to dismantle MPD

The Minneapolis City Council spoke with reporters Monday after vowing to dismantle the police department, giving some more input on their goals.

As demonstrators marched through Minneapolis calling on city leaders to defund the police department, some city council members said they were in lock step with the protests - and a day later, they are not backing down.

“We are entering into uncharted territory,” Minneapolis City Councilmember Jeremiah Ellison said. “We haven't had this conversation since the inception of police officers."

Nine members of the city council say they support dismantling the MPD and replacing it with a community-based public safety model.

While they don't know what that will look like, they say over the next year they will ask the community to help them rebuild what they call a broken system from the ground up.

“We're looking back 150 years. Hopefully it will not take 150 years to rebuild that new system, but we know it won't happen overnight," Minneapolis City Councilmember Lisa Bender said.

Some city council members say they hope to begin re-directing funds from MPD to expand established community-based safety programs like the city's Office of Violence Prevention as soon as the mayor submits his amended budget to the city council later this month. 

"I'm seeing a lot of reporters ask questions like if there's a fatal drive-by shooting, what are you going to do? Or if this other thing happens, who would respond? The answer is we are going to come up with that solution together," Minneapolis City Councilmember Alondra Cano said.

While it will be difficult to reach a consensus from the community on how to move forward, the council members say in their minds, there is no going back.

“At the end of this, we are going to come out of this with a city that is safer for everyone, not just for a few at the expense of everyone," Jeremiah Ellison said.

“As a council member I do not have any interest in rehiring the police department even if it’s under different rules. That fundamentally does not change the system of policing and public safety," Minneapolis City Councilmember Phillipe Cunningham added.   

Council members say other cities have had success with their Office of Violence Prevention including Milwaukee, Baltimore and Louisville.