What is Giving Compass?
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Giving Compass' Take:
• Sarah Holder reports how Minneapolis councilmembers took a remarkable step in pledging to disband its police department and how other cities are heeding demands to reduce police resources.
• What can you do to push for legal action towards police accountability? What are policymakers saying about police reform?
• Discover more about your role in fighting for police accountability and racial justice.
On June 7, members of the Minneapolis city council announced something that just weeks ago might have seemed politically untenable: They would disband the Minneapolis Police Department entirely, and start over with a community-led public safety system. Though the mayor reaffirmed on Monday that he wouldn’t support the dissolution of the force, the council has secured a veto-proof majority.
“Our commitment is to do what’s necessary to keep every single member of our community safe and to tell the truth: that the Minneapolis Police are not doing that,” city councilmember Lisa Bender said at a rally. “Our commitment is to end our city’s toxic relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department, to end policing as we know it, and to recreate systems of public safety that actually keep us safe.”
Although it’s unclear how the council plans to disband the police department, the move nonetheless marks a foundational shift in how many U.S. politicians talk about policing in the city — one that reflects the growing understanding that there’s something systemic wrong with the institution.
No other city has gone as far as Minneapolis, where the killing of George Floyd sparked global protests. The Minneapolis Parks Department, the University of Minnesota, some local museums and the public school system have already severed ties with the police department.
But lawmakers in at least 16 other U.S. cities have proposed or made pledges that would divest some resources from the police. Several more have proposed taking police out of schools. Many of the ideas are more incremental in their rhetoric than Minneapolis’s, calling instead for budget cuts or reductions in officer counts. Some are waiting to conduct firmer research or get more public input before making concrete plans. Even in Minneapolis, councilmembers haven’t yet laid out details about how their proposal would work, instead promising that they’d listen to locals before determining a path. But already, in the weeks since Floyd’s death, communities have been heard — in the streets and online — sparking an acute focus on funding as a reform vehicle.
Read the full article about cities calling to defund the police by Sarah Holder at CityLab.