Minneapolis, MN – The Minneapolis Charter Commissioner voted Wednesday to stop an effort to put a proposed amendment that would abolish the Minneapolis Police Department on the November ballot.
Members of the commission voted 10 to 5 to take another 90 days to review the proposed amendment drafted by the Minneapolis City Council, WCCO reported.
The delay pushed a final decision on the proposed amendment past the deadline for the November ballot, which means the first time Minneapolis voters could consider it would be in November of 2021.
Charter commissioners said the amendment needed more work and that it gave too much power to the Minneapolis City Council, WCCO reported.
They expressed concern the process had been rushed and complained it had been drafted without input from community opposition.
“It’s appropriate to explore transformational changes in the department, but it needs to be done thoughtfully,” Charter Commissioner Peter Ginder told WCCO. “That hasn’t been done here.”
The commissioners called the amendment flawed, WCCO reported.
“We have an obligation to make sure that what is going on the ballot gives the voters an informed choice, that they can make a decision in a thoughtful way,” Charter Commissioner Andrew Kozak told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Kozak said he didn’t think the measure on the table before them accomplished that goal.
Activists were furious about the charter commission’s decision, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
“People in Minneapolis have been in the streets for months demanding change, only to hear from the Charter Commission that there haven’t been enough studies and consultants,” Sophia Benrud, an organizer with the Black Visions Collective, said in a statement. “When white supremacy is the law of the land, it is a luxury to say we need ‘more time’ before we can make change. Every single voter should have had the chance to vote on this amendment in 2020.”
The city charter commission members have been under intense pressure from activists, the city council, and lobbyists, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
“The council says ‘Trust us. We’ll figure it out after this is approved. Trust us.’ Well I don’t, and we shouldn’t,” Charter Commission Chairman Barry Clegg told WCCO. “Charter change is too important.”
There has also been a deluge of opposition to the proposal to dismantle the Minneapolis police amid skyrocketing crime in the city.
Recent Minneapolis crime data released by the police department showed dramatic jumps in all kinds of criminal activity across the entire city since the rioting began in late May, WCCO reported.
Thirty-nine people have been murdered in Minneapolis since the beginning of 2020, according to WCCO.
That’s an increase of 95 percent from the same time last year.
Police said there has been a 46 percent increase in car thefts in the city, with 2,170 automobiles stolen by July 26 as opposed to 1,485 in the same period in 2019.
Robberies have jumped 36 percent since last year, with 886 robberies in Minneapolis already in 2020, WCCO reported.
In the district where rioters burned down the precinct house, crime has spiked even higher.
Car thefts in the 3rd Precinct are up 67 percent, the highest in the city, WCCO reported.
Robberies in the 3rd Precinct have more than doubled compared to the same last year, with 347 robberies in that area already in 2020 compared to 163 in the same time frame in 2019.
Police said they believe some of the robberies are being committed by the same group of criminals, WCCO reported.