Minneapolis voters on Tuesday rejected a proposal to replace the Minneapolis Police Department, crushing the hopes of supporters that outrage over the in-custody death of George Floyd would lead to a historic experiment in transforming public safety.
The final votes ended a contentious and closely watched election cycle, 18 months after Floyd's death. Since then, the city was the site of the worst urban riots in three decades and violent crime has surged as the city council defunded and disparaged law enforcement and hundreds of officers have left the force.
The proposal before voters would have amended the city's charter, removing the requirement to maintain a Police Department with a minimum number of officers based on population. Instead, it would have created a Department of Public Safety that takes "a comprehensive public health approach to safety." Details of the new department, including police staffing levels, if any, would have been determined by the mayor and largely anti-police City Council members.
Voters opposed the amendment by a 12-point margin, well short of the 51% needed to pass, the Star-Tribune reports
The failed ballot question, written by a group called Yes 4 Minneapolis, would have increased City Council oversight of the Police Department. Voters instead approved a separate ballot question that reins in the council's ability to give direction to city staff, and solidifies power in the mayor's office over most city departments.