Protests over George Floyd’s murder while in police custody have turned to calls for action, with several groups demanding dramatic changes in policing. One of the biggest changes would involve ending police departments as they are currently constructed by ending their funding.
New York City officials are discussing cutting some police funds and redirecting those dollars to social programs, but the Minneapolis city council is going all in. A majority of council members support eliminating the police department in its current form and replacing it with what they describe as community-based models.
City Council President Lisa Bender said:
“Our commitment is to end our toxic relationship with MPD and to end policing as we know it to recreate systems of public safety that actually keep us safe.”
Councilman Philippe Cunningham said:
“We have a paradigm for safety that is rooted in community and justice. We have seen it the last two weeks. The reality is that people have been doing this work for decades and not being paid. We have poured that money into the police department and where has it gotten us?”
It’s not clear what paradigm for safety Cunningham is referring to, as Minneapolis has been the epicenter of rioting and looting for the last two weeks, with a long list of buildings looted, vandalized, damaged, and burned to the ground.
Instead of eliminating the police, it would be more constructive to develop a transparent, efficient process for evaluating and firing individual officers.