MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis residents on Tuesday have voted against a proposed amendment that would have removed the city’s police department from the city charter and replace it with a Department of Public Safety.
The vote means the Department of Public Safety will not be created to replace the Minneapolis Police Department, the department which will still be required by the city charter. The vote after all 136 precincts’ reporting was tabulated was 80,506 votes against, and 62,813 for.READ MORE: Ex-MPD Officer Thomas Lane Pleads Guilty In State Trial Over George Floyd's Killing, Agrees To Serve 3 Years
The reactions came down swiftly upon the rejection of the question, mostly from Republicans holding office.
“Defunding the police was never a good idea, and I’m happy the residents of Minneapolis have made it clear they are not on board with the anti-police rhetoric,” Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller (R- Winona) said. “A professional, trained, and properly staffed police force is crucial in keeping communities safe. Law enforcement is an increasingly challenging profession, and I am grateful for the men and women who serve and protect our communities.”
“Minnesotans came together to reject the extreme ‘defund the police’ ballot measure, showing strong support for law enforcement and public safety even in deep blue Minneapolis,” House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) said. “Minneapolis residents deserve safe streets, and prosecutors and judges who will hold criminals accountable — tonight should send a message to Democrats throughout Minnesota to stop pushing their extreme agenda that demonizes and defunds police, and join Republicans in working to restore safety in our cities.”
Also speaking in support of the results, former City Councilman Don Samuels.
The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association’s executive director also issued the following statement.
“This should be a wakeup call to politicians who want to simply abolish and defund police departments,” Brian Peters said. “Police officers serve their communities and place public safety and justice for crime victims at the forefront of their daily actions. Let’s work together for increased safety for all, instead of pursuing reckless policies which only empower criminals.”
The Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis thanked city residents who voted against the ballot measure.
“We appreciate the supportive community members who recognize the hard work and dedication of the Minneapolis police Department. We as a Federation board are invested in working with the Department, City leadership, and other stakeholders to make Minneapolis a safe place to live, visit, and work,” the union said in a statement.
Leili Fatehi, campaign manager for the group supporting this outcome — All of Minneapolis — said the results were clear.READ MORE: COVID In Minnesota: 2,120 More Cases Reported, 6 Deaths
“Tonight, Minneapolis voters have made clear that they want a planful approach to transforming policing and public safety in our city that includes meaningful consultation with the communities most impacted by violence and over-policing, and a real conversation about how to ensure every resident is protected from crime and from police brutality,” Fatehi said. “Now it’s time for the next Mayor and City Council to roll up their sleeves and carry out this public mandate in good faith and without delay and for all residents of Minneapolis to unite together to hold them accountable.”
Steve Cramer, president and CEO of the Minneapolis Downtown Council, says the result offers a new chance for the city to rethink public safety.
“The voters have spoken, and the result on the public safety charter amendment provides an opportunity for our community to unite around a vision of public safety for all in Minneapolis. Together, we will move forward to build back the MPD as a more trusted and effective partner in our community and continue to support complementary safety programs that enhance the work of law enforcement,” Cramer said. “After 18 challenging months, this is an important inflection point. The business community will roll up our sleeves and do the hard work together with our elected leaders, residents, and stakeholders to move Minneapolis into a bright future.”
Rev. Jerry McAfee of New Salem Baptist Missionary Baptist Church in north Minneapolis says he is “ecstatic and elated” about the amendment’s failure.
“Minneapolis heard the voices of the victims of violence who need a voice and comfort from all of us. Now we can work with [Chief Arradondo] to get the work done of reducing violence and transforming our Minneapolis police department for a safer Minneapolis,” McAfee said.
On the other hand, Yes 4 Minneapolis says the result was not what they hoped and worked for, but the group “will work to heal” Minneapolis.
“We changed the conversation about what public safety should look like. We showed the country and the world the power of democracy and the power of the people. Now, we will work to hold leaders and the system accountable,” Yes 4 Minneapolis campaign manager Corenia Smith said.
Color Of Change PAC says that the work continues after the results of this election.
“The movement to expand public safety in Minneapolis wouldn’t have been possible without Black organizers and Black community leaders throughout Minneapolis who fought for a new public safety system. Originally a petition, this amendment was put on the ballot with the support of over 20,000 Minneapolians,” said Rashad Robinson, spokesperson for Color Of Change PAC.
Meanwhile, the Minneapolis Police Department is seeking $27 million in funding to address a “staggering” number of police officer departures as violent crime surges in the city. Arradondo said there are 598 active sworn officers this year compared to 853 in 2019. The budget proposal calls for increased funding to rebuild core services.
Charter amendment questions require 51% or more of the votes cast on each question to pass.MORE NEWS: Adam Pattishall Charged With Criminal Vehicular Homicide In Brooklyn Park Crash