A member of the Minneapolis City Council revealed this week that he and several other council members are working on finding out what it would take to disband the Minneapolis Police Department.
The announcement from Councilmember Steve Fletcher comes a week after George Floyd died while in police custody in Minneapolis. During an appearance on CNN on Wednesday, he called the city’s police department “ungovernable.”
"The department is ungovernable,” Fletcher said. “Chief (Medaria) Arradondo is a leader that we've all had very high hopes in and that I imagined could play a role in envisioning the next version of public safety. But he has clearly not been able to make the culture change happen that we were hoping for and investing in.”
What it would take to disband the department is unclear. But what is clear is that the department is already seeing a reduced role in the protection of the city.
On Wednesday, the Minneapolis Park Board voted to terminate its relationship with the department, and the Minneapolis Police will no longer be involved in guarding events on park property.
Fletcher said in a Twitter post that it’s time to “declare policing as we know it a thing of the past.”
“Our city needs a public safety capacity that doesn’t fear our residents,” Fletcher said. “That doesn’t need a gun at a community meeting. That considers itself part of our community. That doesn’t resort quickly to pepper spray when people are understandably angry. That doesn’t murder black men.”
Despite tensions among the community, a number of leaders from the black community spoke up to defend Arradondo, according to WCCO-TV. The activists told WCCO that any thought of removing the chief without community input would cause further protest.
Fletcher pointed to tensions between the city and police union, amid calls for the city’s police union head to step down.
The Minnesota AFL-CIO issued calls earlier this week calling for Bob Kroll, the Minneapolis Police Union President to step down after he sent a letter to his members calling Floyd a “violent criminal.”
The union’s Facebook page and website are currently offline.