MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - A majority of the Minneapolis City Council pledged its support to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department, which has been a call from protesters in the aftermath of George Floyd's death.
However, many questions remain about what exactly that will look like.
What would disbanding the MPD look like?
It still remains unclear. Nine members of the Minneapolis City Council say they support dismantling the MPD and replacing it with a community-based public safety model. Minneapolis City Councilmember Jeremiah Ellison calls it "uncharted territory." According to advocates, the idea is to reallocate resources for more mental health service providers and social workers as well as inlcude community leaders and neighbors in the new system.
Is this going into effect right now?
No. While there isn't a concrete plan yet, the council members say over the next year they will ask the community to help them rebuild what they call a broken system from the ground up.
Some city council members also 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.
Who is in support of this?
Nine members of the Minneapolis City Council announced their support for defunding the MPD and replacing it with a community-based public safety model at a rally in Powderhorn Park Sunday afternoon. Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender, Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins, and Council Members Alondra Cano, Jeremiah Ellison, Steve Fletcher, Cam Gordon and Jeremy Schroeder joined activists from Black Visions Collective and Reclaim the Block for the announcement.
What does veto-proof majority mean?
With support from nine of the 13 council members, there is a veto-proof majority that could override Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, who has spoken out against disbanding the police department.
However, to make significant changes to the department or funding for the department, they will likely need a public vote to change the charter. According to the city charter, the council is responsible for the funding of the department -- and is required to maintain a minimum force determined by the city's population -- about 723 officers based on recent population estimates.
The mayor's office is given "complete power" over the department under the charter as well. Currently, the city's budget allows for about 888 sworn officers. In order to change the charter, an amendment would require a public vote or full approval of the entire city council along with the mayor.
Who is not in support of the council members' pledge?
A crowd booed Mayor Frey Saturday when he said he did not support defunding the police department. In a statement to FOX 9, he said he does support significant change within the department, but not shutting down the department completely.
Council member Linea Palmisano was among those who did not agree to the pledge. In a statement, she explained that while incremental efforts to change the police department have failed, change is needed. While in favor of a community driven model, she said she could not sign the pledge without a clear understanding of what that would look like.
Anoka County Sheriff James Stuart has also spoken out against the council members' announcment. He agrees that changes need to happen, but says his agency has "no appetite" to return to Minneapolis to restore order again if the city's safety is compromised.