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Campaign Updates

06/7/2020

Statement: Minneapolis City Council Can Deliver Justice, Re-Imagine Public Safety With Historic Pledge to Dismantle Police Department

Jennifer Epps-Addison, network president and co-executive director of The Center for Popular Democracy, issued this statement following the press conference hosted by the Minneapolis City Council: 

“The Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) stands in solidarity with the people of Minneapolis, including residents, organizers from Reclaim the Block, Black Visions Collective and members of the Minneapolis City Council, who have committed to advancing a community-led effort to reimagine public safety, inspired by the thousands of demonstrators who have demanded real action to end police violence and mass incarceration. This bold commitment is an important step toward healing and represents a path to achieving public safety and addressing the structural racism facing Black communities in Minneapolis. 

By dismantling and reinvesting the police department budget into alternate public safety structures and under-resourced neighborhoods, today’s announcement can serve as a model for cities nationwide to begin the process of divestment from policing and anti-Black violence to investment in safe, thriving communities.

Communities have been fighting to dismantle police departments and invest in social safety nets for decades. The recent widespread public outrage in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the brutal police violence toward those calling for justice has added momentum to these efforts, moving  city council members to action.

Around the world, communities are rising up and demanding big, structural change that will end racist police violence and make our cities safer by investing in alternatives to policing and providing for people’s health and well-being — from a living wage to holistic health services, quality education, and stable housing. 

As stated in CPD’s 2017 Freedom to Thrive report, over the last 30 years, at both the national and local levels, governments have dramatically increased their spending on criminalization, policing, and mass incarceration while drastically cutting investments in basic infrastructure and slowing investment in social safety net programs. The choice to resource punitive systems instead of stabilizing and nourishing ones does not make communities safer. 

The FY2020 police budget in Minneapolis is now $194 million and for years, taxpayers have bank rolled millions of additional dollars in legal fees and settlements due to police misconduct. 

Budgets are value statements, and the announcement from Minneapolis organizers and  the Minneapolis City Council underscores that their city refuses to be value aligned to the brutality and murder of Black and brown people by those who are sworn to protect and serve.  We are inspired by the leadership of community advocates, local elected officials, Black leaders of the Minneapolis community, and demonstrators who have been on the frontline of this movement.

The Center for Popular Democracy, our partners, allies, and members will be in the fight to support this plan as it moves forward in Minneapolis. We join with communities in rebellion nationwide as they reimagine public safety, including active efforts to defund the police and win real systemic change needed to truly make communities safe for all. 

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Please email press@populardemocracy.org with any media inquiries.

Sunday, June 7, 2020