Minneapolis commission delays proposal to disband police department

A Minneapolis commission decided Wednesday to delay voting on a City Council amendment to dismantle the city’s police department in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

The Minneapolis Charter Commission, in a 10-5 vote, decided to take more time to review the proposal, the Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported. The vote effectively prevents voters from deciding the issue in November.

“We have an obligation to make sure that what is going on the ballot gives the voters an informed choice, that they can make a decision in a thoughtful way,” Charter Commissioner Andrew Kozak said during the meeting.

The commission had been studying the proposal for just over a month, the Star Tribune reported. There was an Aug. 21 deadline to add items to the November ballot, the newspaper reported.

Some commissioners said they were concerned that the process to change the city’s charter was being rushed after Floyd died following an encounter with a Minneapolis police officer, KARE reported. Some commissioners said they were more concerned with making the right changes, rather than making them fast.

“This amendment was literally written on a Wednesday and passed on a Friday,” Commission Chair Barry Clegg said.

Commissioner Andrea Rubenstein said she also had major concerns, the Star Tribune reported.

“I’m concerned that we need to vote this amendment up or down but I’m further concerned that if we table it, it feels more like a sleight of hand,” Rubenstein said. “It’s perfectly true that we lack sufficient information to make an informed decision ... but an extension to consider it will not help us fill in any missing pieces.”

Even if the commission votes to reject the amendment, the City Council is not bound by the decision, KARE reported. The measure could be placed on the ballot as soon as 2021, the television station reported.

The proposed amendment would have replaced the Minneapolis Police Department with a “Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention,” according to The Associated Press. Supporters said the amendment would take a more “holistic, public health-oriented approach” to law enforcement.

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