Unelected Charter Commission poses a structural barrier to systemic changes in Minneapolis policing

It’s been two months since the Minneapolis police murdered George Floyd, a black man, sparking protests locally, nationally, and around the world.

This moment felt different. Black Lives Matter was getting broader community support. More people seemed open to a structural overhaul in Minneapolis policing. Minneapolis City Council members responded, approving a plan to eliminate the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) as a free-standing entity. It would replace it with a new Minneapolis Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention, which could include police officers as part of its operations.

Now, the irresistible force of community demands hit the immovable object of political process. The hope for big change is teetering in the balance.

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Police reform, police abolition, and barriers to police accountability: An overview

There’s an ongoing gathering at the flower-strewn site where George Floyd was killed.

A veto-proof majority of the Minneapolis City Council has committed to dismantle and defund the Minneapolis Police Department, according to stories in MPR, the Star Tribune, CNN and other news outlets.

In New York City, Mayor Bill DeBlasio is proposing to shift some police funding to social services, with the idea that such funding will do more to promote public safety than funding the tradition police force. Congressional Democrats have proposed the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 which “would ban chokeholds, establish a national database to track police misconduct and prohibit certain no-knock warrants, among other initiatives,” the Washington Post reports.

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