Public Safety Charter Amendment Sparks Intense Debates in Minneapolis

Georgia Fort reports: 

 

Debates across Minneapolis are heating up as the deadline to vote for the public safety charter amendment approaches. The amendment is posed as a yes or no question on the city’s November 2021 ballot. It proposes removing the Police Department as a standalone department and creating a new Public Safety Department, which includes police. 

 

During a debate at North High the community heard from Minister JaNae Bates with “Yes 4 Minneapolis.” She said approving the amendment will help with police transparency and accountability.

 

“If this passes it will be, finally, a way for the people of Minneapolis to raise the standard of public safety in the city,” she said. “They will be able to have an expanded department of public safety and police officers will get to work alongside qualified professionals experienced in crisis.” 

 

Reverend Jerry McAfee urged folks to vote “no” on the amendment and says more resources should be allocated to community led safety alternatives instead.

 

“Most of the people I kick it with ain’t concerned about the police,” he said. “They concerned about Shorty and Ray Ray with them glocks and them switches on ‘em.”  

 

The Racial Justice Network hosted a debate of its own which included filmmaker DA Bullock. Bullock said he plans to vote “yes” for a new public safety department. 

 

“We know for a fact that this current system is not supplying us with proper protection,” he said.

 

Sandra Samuels, CEO of North Side Achievement Zone, says she’ll vote no; she says police are needed to deter violence.

 

“In 24 years of living here I have never experienced the level of violence and crime and despair that I have seen… never,” she said. 

 

The deadline to vote on the Public Safety Charter Amendment is Nov 2.

Photo Credit: Brad Sigal

 

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