Coalition Seeks to Replace the Minneapolis Police Department


Yes 4 Minneapolis is a Black-led campaign seeking to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a new department of public safety. The campaign is proposing an amendment to the Minneapolis city charter requirement for a police department. Organizers recently submitted over 20,000 signatures to the city council to get the amendment question on the ballot in November.

Feven Gerezgiher reports:
While state and national legislators debate the future of policing, Minneapolis organizers are taking matters into their own hands. Yes 4 Minneapolis is a Black-led campaign seeking to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a new department of public safety.

Black Visions Collective is part of the broad coalition behind the campaign. Senior communications strategist Kennedy-Ezra Kastle says policing and police reform legislation is not effective.

“Historically police departments were formed from slave catching institutions and served to protect property and to return black slaves back to white folks because black folks were seen as property,” says Kastle. “When we watch through the George Floyd protest or the Brooklyn Center protest recently from Daunte Wright, we can see that the police are not protecting the citizens but are protecting, in fact, buildings and property and so they have not escaped those horrendous origins.”

The campaign is proposing an amendment to the Minneapolis city charter requirement for a police department. Organizers recently submitted over 20,000 signatures to the city council to get the amendment question on the ballot in November. 

The petition calls for a more holistic approach to public safety. Kastle says a new department should be formed with the community leading the decision-making process.

“This department doesn’t just focus on the policing of historic black and brown communities, but it focuses on safety as a whole making sure we can tie in mental health professionals when someone is having a mental health crisis, making sure we utilize the Office of Nonviolence Prevention in Minneapolis, so that we can use the violence interrupters who have been there and who have a track record of breaking up violence,” says Kastle.

The Yes 4 Minneapolis campaign will seek public input over the summer on the proposed amendment.

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