Voters In Minneapolis To Decide The Fate Of City's Police Department

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By Associated Press
November 2, 2021

Voters were deciding Tuesday whether to regenerate the city's constabulary section with a caller Department of Public Safety.

Voters successful Minneapolis were deciding Tuesday whether to regenerate the city's constabulary section with a caller Department of Public Safety, much than a twelvemonth aft George Floyd's decease nether the genu of a achromatic constabulary serviceman launched a question to defund oregon abolish constabulary crossed the country.

Democratic Mayor Jacob Frey was besides successful a pugnacious combat for a 2nd term, facing a bevy of opponents who person attacked him for his enactment successful the aftermath of Floyd's death. Frey opposed the policing amendment. Two of his starring challengers successful the tract of 17 candidates, Sheila Nezhad and Kate Knuth, powerfully supported the proposal.

Minneapolis voters were besides deciding whether to regenerate the city's antithetic "weak mayor, beardown council" strategy with a much accepted organisation of enforcement and legislative powers that would springiness the politician clearer authorization implicit day-to-day authorities operations.

While results from the ballot questions were expected Tuesday night, the mayoral contention was a question people due to the fact that the metropolis uses ranked prime voting. If nary campaigner reaches 50% successful the archetypal circular of counting, the victor would beryllium determined aft a tally Wednesday of second- and perchance third-choice votes.

The aboriginal of policing successful the metropolis wherever Floyd's decease successful May 2020 launched a nationwide reckoning connected radical justness overshadowed everything connected the municipal ballot. The statement brought nationalist attraction to the election, arsenic good arsenic a stream of out-of-state wealth seeking to power a contention that could signifier changes successful policing elsewhere, too.

The projected amendment to the metropolis charter would region connection that mandates that Minneapolis person a constabulary section with a minimum fig of officers based connected population. It would beryllium replaced by a caller Department of Public Safety that would instrumentality a "comprehensive nationalist wellness attack to the transportation of functions" that "could include" constabulary officers "if necessary, to fulfill its responsibilities for nationalist safety."

Supporters of the alteration argued that a implicit overhaul of policing is indispensable to halt constabulary violence. They framed it arsenic a accidental to re-imagine what nationalist information tin beryllium and to give much backing toward caller approaches that don't trust connected sending equipped officers to woody with radical successful crisis.

But opponents said the ballot connection contained nary factual program for however the caller section would run and expressed fearfulness that it mightiness marque communities already affected by weapon unit adjacent much susceptible to rising crime. The details, and who would pb the caller agency, would beryllium determined by the politician and the City Council.

Two nationally salient progressive Democratic leaders — U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, who represents the Minneapolis area, and authorities Attorney General Keith Ellison — some supported the policing amendment. But immoderate starring mainstream liberals, including Gov. Tim Walz and U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, opposed it and feared the backlash could pb to Democratic losses crossed the state successful 2022.

Support didn't cleanly travel radical lines. Opponents included respective salient Black leaders, including immoderate who person been apical voices successful the constabulary accountability movement.

Minister JaNaé Bates, a spokeswoman for the pro-amendment campaign, told reporters Monday that adjacent if the connection fails, the activists down it person changed the speech astir nationalist safety.

"No substance what happens, the metropolis of Minneapolis is going to person to determination guardant and truly wrestle with what we cannot unknow: that the Minneapolis Police Department has been capable to run with impunity and has done rather a spot of harm and the metropolis has to instrumentality immoderate superior steps to rectify that," Bates said.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.