Minneapolis Voters Reject Disbanding Police Department

(Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune via AP)

The City of Minneapolis was the epicenter of last summer’s riot-palooza following the death of George Floyd during an arrest. The police department became the focus of the defund the police movement and the city council voted to disband the department.

On Tuesday, that very question came up to the voters of Minneapolis. Would they want to keep their police department or replace it with a “department of public safety?”

Well, the vote happened and a lot of anti-police activists are more than a little disappointed.

Minneapolis voters struck down a proposed charter amendment that would have eliminated the city’s police department and replaced it with a public safety agency.

57 percent of voters voted “no” versus 43 percent for “yes” on a ballot question, which asked if the city charter should be amended to remove the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a Department of Public Safety. The proposed charter amendment would have eliminated the minimum police staffing requirement as well as the position of police chief.

The charter amendment was drafted in response to calls to defund or dismantle the police department following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020. It has received national attention and was fought in the courts. Millions of dollars were raised and spent by both supporters and opponents of the proposed charter amendment leading up to Election Day.

Now, had this question gone the other way, it wouldn’t have necessarily meant the city would have been without policing. A department of public safety would have had police officers as part of it.

However, based on the way some entities in the city were leaning, that particular bit of staffing would have been minimal. After all, these same folks wanted to replace police with social workers…an idea that would have been fine until the first social worker was brutally murdered because he or she was somewhere they were ill-equipped to be.

Not that it matters now, of course. The voters have spoken and what they said should give some politicians pause, particularly a loud-mouthed member of Congress.

More importantly, the vote may have just made Minneapolis safer.

Over the last year or so, Minneapolis police have been hesitant to do much of anything. They aren’t even making traffic stops, much less intervening in much of anything else. The reason for that has been concern that they didn’t have the public’s support to do their jobs.

Now, they can see that they do actually have that support. The people of Minneapolis sided with them and hoisted a hearty middle finger to those who think policing is outdated and/or racist.

That’s a huge win.

That said, the department needs some serious work. Before George Floyd’s death, there was the murder of Justine Diamond. Diamond called the Minneapolis police back in 2017. While speaking with one of the responding officers, his partner pulled his gun and shot the woman, claiming he feared she was going for a weapon.

In that case, it was a white victim and a black officer, but there were no racially-charged accusations or riots.

Yet with two such high-profile deaths at the hands of police over a fairly short period of time, it’s clear that this is something the department needs to address. Now that they don’t have to worry about being disbanded, they can do just that.

Let’s hope they actually do.

In the meantime, it’s good to see sanity win out over hysteria for a change.

Dec 08, 2021 12:30 PM ET