A controversial city council proposal to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a “Community Safety and Violence Prevention” agency will *not* be on the ballot this fall after the Charter Commission voted 10-to-5 Wednesday evening to further study the issue. Commissioner Toni Newborn voted against the delay, saying change must happen now: “I hear gunshots on my block,” she said.
“My first inclination is to call the police. But I worry that if I call them that my husband, who’s African-American Black, and if he goes out to meet them, he will be harassed, harmed or shot by Minneapolis police officers.” But Newborn also said she has serious concerns about the city council proposal.
Commissioner Gregory Abbott said the issue deserves “much more scrutiny and discussion.” “The question is not whether a referendum should be held, but when it should be held,” he said. “Should we hold it this year, or should we hold it next year in the general election in 2021?” The next Minneapolis mayoral election is in 2021.
Commissioner Jill Garcia said for an issue that involves the safety of Minneapolis residents, “This isn’t a popularity [contest]. This isn’t a bumper-sticker, slogan, soundbite debate.” Commission members have been under intense pressure from those who want to dismantle M-P-D and those who oppose doing that.