Minneapolis Voters Reject an Amendment to Replace the Police Department

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Elections|Minneapolis voters cull an amendment to regenerate the Police Department.


Nov. 2, 2021, 9:57 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2021, 9:57 p.m. ET

A Yes On 2 motion   extracurricular  of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers office  successful  Northeast Minneapolis.
Credit...Aaron Nesheim for The New York Times

MINNEAPOLIS — Minneapolis residents rejected an amendment connected Tuesday that called for replacing the city’s long-troubled Police Department with a caller Department of Public Safety, The Associated Press projected.

The ballot point emerged from choler aft a Minneapolis constabulary serviceman murdered George Floyd past year, galvanizing residents who saw the policing strategy arsenic irredeemably broken. But the amendment’s nonaccomplishment showed that adjacent successful a wide metropolis wherever skepticism of the constabulary runs deep, galore Americans are not prepared to get escaped of the police.

Minneapolis leaders present look the situation of filling staffing shortages successful a Police Department that is astir a 3rd smaller than it was earlier Mr. Floyd’s killing, and astatine a clip erstwhile the metropolis is facing the astir homicides since the mid-1990s. Even though voters were bitterly divided implicit the charter amendment, the metropolis has been mostly agreed successful a presumption that meaningful reforms to policing are needed.

“We each hold that we can’t prolong arsenic we are present with the mode policing has been,” said Brian Herron, the pastor of a religion connected the city’s North Side and an hostile of the amendment. But helium added: “We don’t person clip to reimagine. We got bodies dropping successful the streets. We got guiltless people being killed.”

Supporters of the measurement had framed it arsenic an accidental to rethink instrumentality enforcement and possibly go a nationalist exemplary for a antithetic approach.

“For each caller change, idiosyncratic had to beryllium the first,” said Sheila Nezhad, who supported the amendment, and who decided to tally for politician aft moving arsenic a thoroughfare medic pursuing Mr. Floyd’s death. “This is our accidental to lead.”

In the days aft Mr. Floyd’s murder, Minneapolis became the halfway of a propulsion to defund oregon abolish the police, and the amendment connected Tuesday’s ballot grew retired of that. But portion galore successful Minneapolis person heavy concerns astir the existent policing system, the metropolis was profoundly divided connected whether the ballot connection went excessively far.

Moderate Democrats, including Mayor Jacob Frey, called for improving the existent department. An uptick successful homicides led immoderate residents to question the contented of shedding the Police Department for a caller nationalist information agency. And a deficiency of clarity connected what the amendment would really bash frightened disconnected immoderate voters.

“Policing is the No. 1 issue, but I don’t spot my sentiment reflected,” said Leanne Fanner, 54, who works successful security and said earlier Election Day that she intended to ballot against the measure. “I bash deliberation we request systemic betterment of the Police Department — systemic and accountable reform.”

The amendment called for discarding minimum constabulary staffing levels for the city, and getting escaped of the Minneapolis Police Department altogether. Under the amendment, the City Council would person much oversight implicit the bureau that replaced the Police Department, which would beryllium focused connected nationalist wellness and, according to the ballot language, “could see licensed bid officers (police officers), if necessary.”

Supporters of the measure, who mostly steered distant from describing the program arsenic 1 to “defund the police,” framed it arsenic a mode to assistance their metropolis determination past the symptom of the past 18 months and make a new, much equitable system. And they person disagreed with immoderate opponents who accidental this is not a omniscient infinitesimal to regenerate the Police Department, fixed rising weapon unit successful the streets.

“I find it fascinating that folks are saying, ‘No, this is the incorrect clip to bash things that straight code the things that are atrocious close now,’” said JaNaé Bates, a curate who helped pb a run supporting the amendment and believes that having much societal workers and assemblage unit workers would bash a amended occupation reducing weapon unit than would accepted policing.

Many Minneapolis residents accidental they stay shaken by the events that unfolded successful the city, from the video of an serviceman kneeling connected Mr. Floyd’s neck, to the protests and arson and looting that followed.

“We are going done immoderate of the hardest and astir hard circumstances our metropolis has ever faced,” Mr. Frey told precocious schoolhouse students during a statement this fall.

The question of however to respond has divided Minnesota’s apical Democrats. Representative Ilhan Omar, whose legislature territory includes Minneapolis, and Keith Ellison, the authorities lawyer general, supported replacing the Police Department. Their chap Democrats successful the Senate, Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, opposed it.

Since Mr. Floyd’s murder, galore ample cities, Minneapolis included, person invested much wealth successful intelligence wellness services and experimented with dispatching societal workers alternatively of equipped officers to immoderate exigency calls. Some departments scaled backmost insignificant postulation stops and arrests. And respective cities chopped constabulary budgets amid the nationalist telephone to defund, though immoderate person since restored backing successful effect to rising weapon unit and shifting politics.

But nary ample metropolis went arsenic acold arsenic getting escaped of its constabulary unit and replacing it with thing new.

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