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Minneapolis City Council Backs Dismantling Police Department


FILE - Minneapolis police officers stand in a line facing protesters demonstrating against the death of George Floyd, outside the 3rd Police Precinct in Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 27, 2020.
FILE - Minneapolis police officers stand in a line facing protesters demonstrating against the death of George Floyd, outside the 3rd Police Precinct in Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 27, 2020.

The Minneapolis police department could soon undergo a radical change following the death two weeks ago of George Floyd, an African American man, while in the custody of four city officers.

Nine of 12 members of the city council announced at a rally in a city park that they support dismantling the police department and replacing it with what is being described as a community-based public safety model.

Details on exactly what this new model would look like are unclear.

The 12-member council still has to approve the plan and, under council rules, the decision would be veto-proof.

A group of demonstrators rallied outside the home of Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey Saturday to demand the police department be defunded, accusing it of long-standing racism and rough treatment of black suspects.

“It shouldn’t have taken so much death to get us here,” said Kandace Montgomery, the director of Black Vision which organized the gathering outside the mayor’s house. “We’re safer without armed, unaccountable patrols supported by the state hunting black people.”

Frey told the crowd that he does not support getting rid of the police department as it looks now.

"I told them the truth about where I stand. I'll work relentlessly toward deep structural reforms to change policing, rethink our system, and directly address systemic racism. However, I do not support abolishing the department,” Frey said.

Many of the demonstrators who have been protesting across the country have demanded that big city police departments be defunded. Supporters say that doesn’t mean literally getting rid of law enforcement but say much of the money used to run police departments can be reinvested into social services, arguing that creating better lives for citizens means little need for a gun-toting officer.

Opponents say they want people to ask themselves what happens when someone calls 911 to report a rape in progress or a murder or armed robbery and few officers are available.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will be in Houston Monday to meet with George Floyd’s family before a funeral service.

A Biden aide says a video message from Biden will be played at the service, but Biden himself will not attend.

Floyd was born near Fayetteville, North Carolina, but grew up in Houston, where he will be buried Tuesday.

Biden got a huge endorsement Sunday when former Secretary of State Colin Powell said he would be voting for the Democrat in November.

"I cannot in any way support President Trump this year,” Powell told CNN Sunday.

He added that he is “very close to Joe Biden on a social matter and on a political matter. I think what we're seeing now, this massive protest movement I have ever seen in my life, I think it suggests the country is getting wise to this and we're not going to put up with it anymore," Powell told Tapper.

Trump shot back, calling Powell a "stiff" and "overrated."

Powell is another major voice from the U.S. military critical of the way the Trump administration has been calling for force to deal with protest marches against the harsh police treatment of black men.

The National Guard will start pulling out of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, and other California cities as the violence by Floyd protesters has eased.

Sunday’s marches in California were peaceful, but Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti says a “small number of units” will be stationed nearby for at least two more days in case of emergency.

A group of primarily African Americans calling themselves The Compton Cowboys held a peaceful protest on horseback in some southern L.A. suburbs Sunday while a group of classic car fans held their own march in East Los Angeles.

The situation in Oakland was a bit more tense when demonstrators tried to close down an interstate highway but backed down after a brief standoff with police. Another gathering painted the words Black Lives Matter in a downtown Oakland street, just like the one painted on a Washington street.

Several hundred families, many pushing baby strollers, marched peacefully around a lake in Oakland. A similar march was held in San Francisco and thousands also gathered peacefully along that city’s waterfront.

In Washington, Republican Senator Mitt Romney marched with protesters, the first known instance of a Republican lawmaker joining the demonstrations.

He posted photos of the march on Twitter along with the caption, “Black Lives Matter,” as well as photos of his father from a civil rights march in the 1960s.

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