Minneapolis votes to disband police force after failing to reform

Minneapolis is poised to disband its police department after a majority of city council members vowed to end policing as the city knows it.

The dramatic move comes as the state of Minnesota has launched a civil rights investigation after the killing of George Floyd while in police custody.

Nine of the Minneapolis City Council’s 12 members appeared with activists on Sunday afternoon and vowed to start the city’s police force over again.

Council member Jeremiah Ellison promised that the council would “dismantle” the department.

Why George Floyd's death could be the tipping point

Why George Floyd’s death could be the tipping point

“It is clear that our system of policing is not keeping our communities safe,” Lisa Bender, the council president, said. “Our efforts at incremental reform have failed, period.”

Ms Bender said she and the eight other council members who joined the rally were committed to ending the city’s relationship with the police force and “to end policing as we know it and recreate systems that actually keep us safe”.

Mr Floyd, 46, died on May 25 after police officer Derek Chauvin was filmed kneeling on his neck for at least eight minutes while arresting him for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 note in a shop.

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George Floyd protests

Protests and memorials for George Floyd

Activists have criticised the Minneapolis department for years for what they say is a racist and brutal culture that resists change.

On Friday the city agreed to ban chokeholds and neck restraints by police.

And a more complete remaking of the city’s police department is likely to unfold in coming months, with the push to defund or abolish the Minneapolis department far from assured as the civil rights investigation is conducted.

Disbanding an entire department has happened before. In 2012, with crime rampant in Camden, New Jersey, the city disbanded its police department and replaced it with a new force that covered Camden County.

Compton, California, took the same step in 2000, shifting its policing to Los Angeles County.

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Meanwhile, officials in New York City lifted a curfew imposed amid the protests.

And In Washington, DC, National Guard troops from South Carolina were seen checking out of their hotel shortly before president Donald Trump tweeted he was giving the order to withdraw them from the capital.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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