Nine members of the Minneapolis City Council pledged to defund and dismantle the city’s police department Sunday.
According to CNN, if the nine members stay committed, it will create a veto-proof supermajority of the council’s 13 members.
“We committed to dismantling policing as we know it in the city of Minneapolis and to rebuild with our community a new model of public safety that actually keeps our community safe,” Council President Lisa Bender told CNN.
Bender added that Sunday’s pledge is a sign that the current system of policing in the city is not working and new ideas need to be implemented. Bender said she and other city council members committed to the idea after analyzing the nature of 911 calls and discovering the majority of them are related to mental health services, health and EMT, and fire services.
Council members Alondra Cano, Philippe Cunningham, Jeremiah Ellison, Steve Fletcher, Cam Gordon, Andrew Johnson, and Jeremy Schroeder joined Andrea Jenkins on stage at a protest Saturday to announce their intention.
“We have a paradigm for safety that is rooted in community and justice. We have seen it the last two weeks, Cunningham said to the crowd. “The reality is that people have been doing this work for decades and not being paid. We have poured that money into the police department and where has it gotten us?”
Calls to defund or abolish police departments across the country have recently grown in popularity due to the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.
Jeremiah Ellison, city councilman for Ward 5 tweeted Thursday, “We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department. And when we’re done, we’re not simply gonna glue it back together. We are going to dramatically rethink how we approach public safety and emergency response.”
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey was asked at a protest Saturday if he would commit to defunding the police. When he declined to do so, he was booed relentlessly and told by protesters to go home.