The Minneapolis City Council has voted 12 to 1 to approve a ballot that asks voters if the city should replace the police department with a Department of Public Safety, according to KARE 11 News. The question will appear on November’s ballot.
The Black-led, multiracial campaign Yes 4 Minneapolis pushed for the ballot measure with the idea of making Minneapolis safe for everyone. The question on the ballot asks residents to vote on replacing the police department with a safer option.
“Shall the Minneapolis City Charter be amended to strike and replace the Police Department with a Department of Public Safety that employs a comprehensive public health approach, and which would 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?”
Minneapolis has been under pressure to make changes after former MPD officer Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd last year by kneeling on his neck. Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes as Floyd laid on his stomach, handcuffed.
Over 20k MPLS voters signed our #PeoplesPetition to #ChangeTheCharter and create a Dept. of Public Safety. Now, change is on the ballot this Nov. Head to our site to read sample ballot language, get introduced to our coalition, and join our movement! https://t.co/OH4LoswqHN pic.twitter.com/DPLasn1qkL
— Yes 4 Minneapolis (@Yes4Minneapolis) June 14, 2021
Apparently, the mayor of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey, isn’t too enthusiastic about the ballot measure and said he wouldn’t sign off, calling it a “major setback for accountability.”
“Mayor Frey maintains that giving the Minneapolis City Council control over public safety work would mark a major setback for accountability and good governance. The mayor will not be signing the measure, but appreciates the careful work and thorough analysis done by City staff to prepare fair and accurate language for voters to consider this fall.”
Should the measure pass, the commissioner of the Public Safety Department will be nominated by the mayor. The Minneapolis City Council will appoint the commissioner, and the mayor and the Minneapolis police chief would then lose their power over the department.