The Minneapolis City Council has voted to dismantle the US city’s police department, of which four former officers were charged over their involvement in the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man that triggered widespread global protests.
Nine members — a veto-proof super-majority — of the 13-member council voted on Sunday to disband the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), which has long been accused of racism, reports Xinhua news agency.
“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,” Lisa Bender, president of the city council, said at a community meeting with activists in Powderhorn Park on Sunday.
In a statement, members of the council said that “decades of police reform efforts have proved that the Minneapolis Police Department cannot be reformed, and will never be accountable for its actions”.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said in a statement that he will work “toward deep, structural reform and addressing systemic racism in police culture”.
Stressing that the city authorities will engage in “more community-led, public safety strategies”, the Mayor added: “I do not support abolishing the Minneapolis Police Department.”
The Council’s decision came as calls for ending police violence mounted in the wake of Floyd’s death on May 25 at the hands of four officers of the MPD, with one of them kept his knee down on the victim neck for almost nine minutes.
All of the four officers have been fired, facing criminal charges.
Floyd’s death has since triggered protests against police brutality and racial injustice that not only spread across the US but all over the world
The Minneapolis City Council’s move also came on the heels of an announcement by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz on June 2, in which he said the state’s Department of Human Rights will launch an investigation into the MPD’s “policies, procedures, and practices over the past 10 years to determine if they engaged in systemic discrimination”.