On Tuesday, the citizens of Minneapolis had their say in what should happen to their police department after some politicians called to defund and even abolish it after the death of George Floyd last May.
They soundly rejected an initiative that would have amended the city charter and replaced the police department with a “department of public safety.”
After Floyd’s death, “defund the police” went into overdrive nationwide, but Minneapolis stood at the epicenter.
Minneapolis residents shot down dismantling the police department by a margin of 57%-44%.
And with good reason, says Sondra Samuels, who lives in one of the areas that would have been most effected by “reimagining” law enforcement:
“I kind of trembled a little bit in the voting booth today because I live in one of the neighborhoods most impacted by crime and violence… and knew the correlation between the lack of policing and good policing. We can have reform and we can have enough police to keep our children, our elderly safe. So this was a win tonight.”
Samuels added that in her neighborhood, four neighbors have been shot and killed, and others who live in the neighborhood are selling their homes and moving out.
The AP reported back in October that some Democrats weren’t onboard with the scheme – including U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar and Democrat governor Tim Walz.
Democrats further to the left, like Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and especially far-left Rep. Ilhan Omar, supported the plan.
Omar, a Somalian immigrant, aggressively supported dismantling the police department, saying, “you can’t really reform a department that is rotten to the root.”
She said she “would never co-sign on funding a police department that continues to brutalize us… Not only do we need to disinvest from police, but we need to completely dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department.”
She even chastised former President Barack Obama for his skepticism of defunding the police.
While Minneapolis is an overwhelmingly liberal city, reaction to the defeat of a measure that would have instituted an agency that would have employed “a comprehensive mental health approach” rather than traditional policing was mixed.
Retired police officer Kevin Rofidal said he was “pleasantly surprised” by the election outcome, and added, “The people spoke, but also there’s people in the community that really stood up in front of this and I think it sent a message nationwide.”
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