Minneapolis Ballot Proposal On Policing – Too Much, Or Too Little?

Closeup of a Vote by Mail envelope, official balloting material - business reply mail, USPS first class mail.

Tiffany Bui reports: 

The City of Minneapolis must reword a note it plans to include on this fall’s election ballot, after a Hennepin County judge found the language “problematic.” 

The re-worded explanatory note will accompany a question on the November ballot about the future of the Minneapolis Police Department. 

The proposal, authored by the organization “Yes 4 Minneapolis” would remove the requirement that the city keep a police department. It would replace the police department with a Department of Public Safety. City officials say they added the note to provide more information about the proposal’s impact. But Yes 4 Minneapolis said the note was misleading, and sued the city. 

Supporters of the Yes 4 Minneapolis proposal say it allows Minneapolis to move beyond a “police-only” response to public safety, but police would still be part of the department. 

While some say the proposal is too extreme, others say it doesn’t go far enough.

Adnan Ahmed, an activist living in the Twin Cities, co-authored an article on the website Left Voice where the authors describe the Yes 4 Minneapolis proposal as a “nonthreatening, palatable option.” 

Ahmed is especially critical of its philanthropic funding – which he sees as an act of the wealthy “co-opting” social movements. Yes 4 Minneapolis has previously reported a $500,000 donation from the Open Society Policy Center.

“How is money coming from foundations going to abolish or even reform police when capitalism thrives on maintaining a system of economic disparity? So what is a reformed system of economic disparity going to look like?” Ahmed said. 

He worries that people will mistake the passage of the proposal for radical change. 

“At the end of the day, we have to kind of see … who is co-opting our language, who is co-opting our movement and what is this really doing?” Ahmed said. “If we’re just kind of rearranging furniture  in a burning house, then is that really progress?

 

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