In a push to disband the Minneapolis police department, voters voted down Question 2, a ballot measure that would have overhauled the police department has failed for the second time since George Floyd’s death sparked calls for police reform.
Minneapolis residents have voted not to replace the city’s police department with a new Department of Public Safety. It seems even the city council members that have supported the defund police movement were also struggling to keep their positions as citizens of Minneapolis want to keep their police department.
The proposal, Question 2 on the ballot, would have dissolved the police department and removed the requirement that the city have a police department with a minimum level of funding and staffing and would have established a new Department of Public Safety.
The new entity would have employed a “comprehensive public health approach to safety.” replacing the city police chief with a commissioner nominated by the mayor and appointed by the Minneapolis City council.
The ballot question sharply divided the community, and activist worry the vote could further drain momentum from the national police reform movement sparked by Floyd’s death as talks stall in Congress. Minneapolis has been the center of police reform conversation since May 2020, when
George Floyd, a Black man, was murdered by white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
Despite nationwide Black Lives Matter protest following Floyd’s killing, substantive changes to national police policy have been hard to come by, as the reform bill named after Floyd has so far failed to clear the Senate.
Medaria Arradondo, who became the city’s first Black police chief in 2017, urged voters to reject the ballot question last week, saying it would do nothing to address the issues highlighted by Floyd’s death.
Arradondo told reporters, “To vote on a measure of reimagining public safety without a solid plan and an implementation of direction of work, this is too critical of a time to wish and hope for that help that we need so desperately right now.”
“Tonight, is a victory for sanity and common sense in Minneapolis,” Bill Rodriguez, co-founder of opposition group Operation Safety Now. “Of course, there’s more work to do son how we approach public safety, but the notion that we can do it without police, or with a skeleton crew of officers, is fantasy.”