Minneapolis votes to abolish police department

Voters in Minneapolis will decide on Tuesday whether to abolish the city’s police department in a historic move.

After the death of George Floyd at the hands of Officer Derek Chauvin, the city became the epicenter of the Stop Police Movement.

For Minneapolis, this will see the police department replaced by a new Department of Public Safety under City Council control.

If passed, the proposals would abolish the requirement for a minimum number of police officers, which has been in place since 1961.

It will see resources used to increase the number of social workers, therapists and so-called “violence cutters”, in an effort to address the root causes of crime.

But critics warn the reforms will have a devastating impact on a city with a surging crime rate – where shootings have risen by more than 25 percent this year – and policing problems.

Even before the polls, Minneapolis suffered a hemorrhage in police officers. About 200 resigned in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.

During the same period, the city saw a rise in crime from car thefts to murder.

The latest figures show that 503 people were shot dead in the first nine months of the year. Homicides increased by 16 percent, robberies by 5 percent, and aggravated assaults by 2.6 percent.

However, proponents of the change say the escalation of crime occurred under the existing policing arrangements.

The move divided Democrats. She is supported by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, a member of the left-wing “squad” in Washington, and Keith Ellison, a former congressman and most recently the state’s attorney general.

But it is opposed by the party establishment, including Minnesota senators, Amy Klobuchar and Joe Biden, who has distanced himself from calls to stop police funding when running for president. But the attorney general who led Chauvin’s trial supports the move.

Polls conducted last month indicated that voters favor reforming the police department, but not cutting the number of officers.

Support for the “defund the police” movement has declined among Americans as violent crime has surged in the past year or so.

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