Minneapolis council indicates it will try again with plan to replace MPD

Minneapolis City Council members discuss defunding police department
Nine Minneapolis City Council members declare their commitment to defunding and dismantling the Minneapolis Police Department alongside community groups at Powderhorn Park in June 2020.
Liam James Doyle for MPR News 2020

The Minneapolis City Council on Friday took steps — again — toward trying to get a proposal on the ballot this year that would allow the city to replace its Police Department with a new public safety agency.

The council's agenda included a notice that a measure similar to the one that failed to make it in front of voters in 2020 will be up for consideration by council members in the coming weeks.

Mychal Vlatkovich, a spokesperson for Mayor Jacob Frey, said the mayor had concerns about “clarity of command” but would review the proposal when it's ready.

The city and Police Department have come under pressure to overhaul policing since George Floyd, a Black man who was in handcuffs, died on May 25 after an officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck as Floyd said he couldn’t breathe.

Last year, the city's Charter Commission kept off the ballot a proposal to create a new public safety department. Commissioners said the language proposed by the council was vague and they needed more time to consider it. They eventually voted to reject it.

During public hearings, dozens of people supported the idea of letting voters decide the future of the city's public safety system.

The push to eliminate the Police Department also provoked opposition from people who worried that the change was unwise while the city was in the grips of a crime wave.

The city is also in the process of gathering public input on what they call “reimagining public safety.”

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