The people of Minneapolis Tuesday voted down a measure that would have removed the city’s police department and replaced it with a Department of Public Safety.
The controversial ballot question — sparked by George Floyd’s murder at the hands of a police officer last year — was among three Minneapolis residents voted on Tuesday, including one that would weaken the power of the City Council and another that would create a rent control ordinance.
The second question on the ballot, which voters shot down 56.92 percent to 43.08 percent with 92 percent of precincts reporting, dealt with removing the police department.
The ballot asked voters if “the Minneapolis City Charter be amended to remove the Police Department and replace it with a Department of Public Safety that employs a comprehensive public health approach to the delivery of functions by the Department of Public Safety.”
Voters were asked to check “yes” or “no.”
While supporters of the measure claimed it would allow mental health or substance abuse experts to respond to some emergency calls, critics said defunding the department will cause failure to address rising crime across the city.
If passed, the city council and new elected mayor would have had the power to structure the new Public Safety Department.
Yes 4 Minneapolis, which is made up of businesses and organizations from across the city, lobbied to get the measure to a vote and succeeded when the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled last month that it could remain on the ballot after a district judge tried to block it.
Violent crime surged nearly 17 percent in Minneapolis last year, according to data from the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Last year and this summer, the city saw protests against police rage.
In May 2020, riots broke out after ex-cop Derek Chauvin killed Floyd — promoting local stores to board up. Protesters even created an “autonomous zone” that blocked off traffic for a year at the site where Floyd was murdered.