The Minneapolis City Council voted to defund their police force today. Their plan is to replace it with a community led system, one which will probably look similar to a traditional police force. Still– the slogan ‘defund the police’ has merit, even if not readily apparent.
Keith Ellison, Minnesota’s Attorney General who will be prosecuting the George Floyd murder trial, gives context to the slogan in this clip from Friday night’s Almanac show, at about min 5:00.
The goal of the movement is to imagine how to put safety and security as the central objective. Think of the slogan to defund the police as cutting off the old ways and starting with new ways. Or, if you are an optimist like me, the dismantling is the dismantling of the wall that has kept the black community penned in, and not allowed for the natural flow of activity between community and official forces to work together towards the safe-streets objective.
Keith Ellison’s son, Jeremiah Ellison, is a city councilman representing the heart of black community in North Minneapolis. He was the only politician (from where I was watching) that was out in his neighborhoods the first nights of unrest. He looked to defuse trouble, promote safety and protect local businesses. You can see him on Twitter @jeremiah4north. While the mayor and the governor stayed stashed away inside (I don’t think the mayor emerged until Sunday, the first morning without smoke hanging over the city), this guy is out in his neighborhood organizing his community.
Leslie Redmond of the NAACP was also out in this neighborhood, working with the local police as seen in this video clip.