UPDATED 7:18 PM PT – Saturday, July 24, 2021
Residents of Minneapolis have been granted the chance to vote on whether or not they support abolishing the city’s police department. In a 12 to 1 vote on Friday, the Minneapolis City Council approved the language of a ballot question allowing residents to vote on whether they’d like to replace the city’s police department to appear on the ballot this fall.
Proposed by Advocacy group Yes 4 Minneapolis, the citizens petition seeks to disband and replace the police department with a new public safety department. “I’m persuaded that the language is a version describing the intention of the petitioners…20,000 people signed a petition saying that they want to create a significant change in our city’s approach to public safety, that we should put it on the ballot,” said Council Member Steve Fletcher.
Today the Minneapolis City Council approved a ballot question for the November ballot that would amend the Minneapolis city charter and adopt a public health approach to public safety. pic.twitter.com/igrpuBTs5k
— Yes 4 Minneapolis (@Yes4Minneapolis) July 21, 2021
The so-called Holistic Public Safety Force is said to focus on a “comprehensive public health approach” and will include police officers if necessary. An explanatory note provided with the language said the force would be led by a commissioner of public safety nominated by the mayor, and would also remove mandates for a police department from the city’s charter.
If passed, this would include removing the post of the police chief and the mayor’s “complete power” over the department. In addition, the head of public safety or police chief would have to report to 14 different people. Democrat Mayor Jacob Frey is noted on record opposing the bill, however, officials said his signature is not necessary in order to get amending their police department on the November ballot.
Meanwhile, Frey said he would not veto the measure, noting the language is accurate and the voters should decide.