Voters over in Minneapolis shot down a ballot that proposed a design to tear down the police department this past Tuesday.
The ballot measure in question would have tried to replace the current police department with a new department of public safety. The Wall Street Journal reported that voters have spoken out with their actions and rejected the idea with the vote margin being 56% to 44%.
The measure itself would not remove police in its entirety from the city but would have gotten rid of the minimum staffing requirements for its officers as well as removed the chief of police position from the city. A few officers would have to stay on staff in order to react to particular incidents under the measure, though it is still unclear how many actual police officers would have actually remained.
The vote on the proposal did manage one thing, it ended up splitting the Democrats of the state. A group of prominent Democratic officials like U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Governor Tim Walz stepped up to voice their opposition to the ballot, which ended up taking quite a bit of pressure off of the much more progressive members of the party.
Other Democrats such as Rep. Ilhan Omar and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison instead moved to endorse the ballot measures and stated their encouragement for residents of Minneapolis to try and adopt them. Omar has taken a hypercritical stance concerning the police department throughout the city, stating her condemnation in the wake of the court-adjudicated murder of George Floyd this past year, then quite a bit more recently over the increasing crime rates across the city as retirements from the police department spiked amidst the Black Lives Matter protests and the “Defund the Police” movement.
“What we must also recognize is that the reduction in policing currently in our city, and the lawlessness that is happening is due to two things,” stated Omar this past month. “One, the police have chosen to not fulfill their oath of office and to provide the public safety they are owed to the citizens they serve, right? It’s documented. But even before that, it was documented. The Minneapolis Police Department is the most dysfunctional police department, in our state and probably in the country.”
“The second part is that there has to be accountability,” she added. “And someone that is actually taking responsibility for what the police does invest in to. And that doesn’t exist in this moment. And I do believe that the current charter that we have, that’s tied the hands of those who want to have that accountability, because we are mandated to have a specific amount of policing, we are mandated to, you know, have the kind of these union contracts that we have right now. I don’t know any other big city in the state of Minnesota that has the charter that we have, it just doesn’t exist.”
The results came in though as Voters handily rejected Omar’s pleas and backed the police departments against the hounding activists’ calls to defund them.