Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender and Council Vice President Andre Jenkins were joined by other council members and activists from Black Visions Collective and Reclaim the Block as they announced the plan to disband the Minneapolis Police Department through the funding process at a rally following the police-involved killing of George Floyd by an MPD officer.
“It is clear that our system of policing is not keeping our communities safe,” said Bender. “Our efforts at incremental reform have failed, period.”
Council Members Alondra Cano, Jeremiah Ellison, Steve Fletcher, Cam Gordon and Jeremy Schroder also attended the rally as they formed a nine-member veto-proof supermajority pledging their support to disband the police department and replace it with community-based public safety.
“Our commitment is to end our city’s toxic relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department, to end policing as we know it and to re-create systems of public safety that actually keep us safe,” said Bender.
The announcement came after the city council on Friday voted to approve a measure banning police from using choke holds and other neck restraints and requiring MPD officers to immediately report any instances of unauthorized use of force by fellow officers and attempt to intervene.
On Wednesday, Minnesota authorities escalated the charge against MPD officer Derek Chauvin, the officer seen on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as he gasped for air, from third-degree murder to second-degree murder.
They also arrested the other three officers present at the scene and charged them with aiding and abetting murder in the second-degree.
All four officers had been fired after Floyd was killed while they arrested him outside a Cup Foods store on May 25 when a clerk reported that he used a counterfeit $20 bill.
Global protests erupted following news of Floyd’s death calling for police reforms and en end to systemic racism.