Kerem Yucel / AFP via Getty ImagesDemocratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota speaks to the crowd during a rally for independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, then a candidate for president, at the Saint Paul RiverCentre on March 2, 2020, in Saint Paul, Minnesota. (Kerem Yucel / AFP via Getty Images)
Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota is calling for the abolition of the Minneapolis Police Department.
In a series of tweets, Omar attacked the police, who in Minneapolis and across the country have been the targets of protests and riots after the death of George Floyd, who died on Memorial Day after a police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes.
“The Minneapolis Police Department has proven themselves beyond reform. It’s time to disband them and reimagine public safety in Minneapolis,” she tweeted.
“Police violence is a threat to public safety. We must allocate resources to ensure that all instances of death or injury in police custody are adequately and independently reviewed,” she added in a follow-up tweet.
“We can’t reform a system that is rotten, reimagining and reconstructing a new way forward is a better approach. Thankful for Minneapolis city council for their leadership on this,” Omar went on.
Former Hillary Clinton aide Brian Fallon chimed in as well.
On Friday, Minneapolis approved a temporary restraining order with the state to trigger the process of overhauling the department, WCCO-TV reported.
“George Floyd’s service yesterday underscored that justice for George requires more than accountability for the man who killed him – it requires accountability from elected leadership to deep, structural reforms,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said.
Do you think Omar’s idea is ridiculous?
“Today’s agreement with the state will help bring those layers of accountability. This unprecedented energy and momentum for police reform has left Minneapolis poised not just to address our shortcomings, but to become a model for shifting police culture and uprooting systemic racism.”
The reforms ban chokeholds, require officers to report one another if excessive violence is used and stipulate that any decision on the use of tear gas for crowd control must be made by the police chief.
Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida pushed back against the anti-police wave, tweeting that the city council is “surrendering” Minneapolis.
Multiple city council members had radical ideas similar to Omar’s.
“We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a transformative new model of public safety,” council member Lisa Bender tweeted.
“Our city needs a public safety capacity that doesn’t fear our residents. That doesn’t need a gun at a community meeting. That considers itself part of our community. That doesn’t resort quickly to pepper spray when people are understandably angry. That doesn’t murder black people,” council member Steve Fletcher wrote in a Time Op-Ed.
Noting that police are no longer in the picture on mental health calls, as they once were, he suggested that “[w]e could similarly turn traffic enforcement over to cameras and, potentially, our parking enforcement staff, rather than our police department.”
“We can play a role in combating the systems of white supremacy in public safety that the death of black and brown lives has laid bare. We can invest in cultural competency and mental health training, de-escalation and conflict resolution. We can send a city response that that is appropriate to each situation and makes it better. We can resolve confusion over a $20 grocery transaction without drawing a weapon or pulling out handcuffs,” Fletcher wrote.
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