After passing a resolution to disband the police in late May after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, the Minneapolis City Council is reportedly panicking as violent crime surges in the city.
According to crime data from the Minneapolis Police Department, “The number of reported violent crimes, like assaults, robberies and homicides are up compared to 2019,” MPR News reported.
“More people have been killed in the city in the first nine months of 2020 than were slain in all of last year. Property crimes, like burglaries and auto thefts, are also up. Incidents of arson have increased 55 percent over the total at this point in 2019.”
Calls to defund or disband the police arose in Minneapolis, as well as across the nation, after a video shocked the country and the world, showing the asphyxiation death of George Floyd in late May, where a Minneapolis police officer held his knee on the suspect’s neck for nine minutes, despite pleas of “I can’t breathe.”
Days after Floyd’s death, members of the Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously in passing a resolution to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a “community-led Public Safety system,” the Daily Wire reported at the time.
“Our commitment is to end our city’s toxic relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department,” Council President Lisa Bender said at the time. “It is clear that our system of policing is not keeping our communities safe. Our efforts at incremental reform have failed, period.”
Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) said at the time: “We need to completely dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department because here’s the thing…there’s a cancer.” Omar added: “The Minneapolis Police Department is rotten to the root, and so when we dismantle it, we get rid of that cancer, and we allow for something beautiful to rise, and that reimagining allows us to figure out what public safety looks like for us.”
During an interview with CNN at the time, Bender was asked: “Do you understand that the word, dismantle, or police-free also makes some people nervous, for instance? What if in the middle of night, my home is broken into? Who do I call?”
“Yes, I mean, hear that loud and clear from a lot of my neighbors,” Bender replied. “And I know — and myself, too, and I know that that comes from a place of privilege.”
“Because for those of us for whom the system is working, I think we need to step back and imagine what it would feel like to already live in that reality where calling the police may mean more harm is done,” Bender explained.
Despite the desire to reimagine public safety in the city, the immediate problem appears to be that the city has not yet figured out what public safety looks like in the interim or otherwise.
During a past interview with CNN, City Council President Lisa Bender was asked about a hypothetical situation in which public safety officers replaced police. Bender was asked what would happen if a dangerous killer was running loose and an armed police officer was required.
“We don’t have all the answers,” Bender admitted.
Complicating the problem the city is currently encountering in ensuring public safety is that roughly 100 officers have left the Minneapolis Police Department or have taken a leave of absence since the start of the year, which is more than twice the normal rate, according to a report by the Daily Wire.
Members of the Minneapolis City Council are allegedly panicking as violent crime is surging in the city, according to MPR News and Daily Wire who reported the results of a recent two-hour meeting in which officials discussed police reform.
“Residents are asking, ‘Where are the police’?” Minneapolis city council member Jamal Osman said during the police reform meeting. Osman intimated he has been flooded with complaints from residents saying their calls for help from the police are not being answered, according to MPR News.
The report added that some city council members say their constituents who live in safer areas are now feeling “terrorized.”
“That is the only public safety option they have at the moment, MPD [Minneapolis Police Department],” Osman added. “They rely on MPD. And they are saying they are nowhere to be seen.”
“What I am sort of flabbergasted by right now is colleagues, who a very short time ago were calling for abolition, are now suggesting we should be putting more resources and funding into MPD,” said councilmember Phillipe Cunningham.
“This is not new,” City Council President Lisa Bender claimed. “But it is very concerning in the current context.” Bender allegedly complained that she believed officers were being defiant. Bender was the official who led the initial effort to dismantle the police department.