In a significant move amid nationwide protests sparked by George Floyd’s death last month, a majority of the Minneapolis City Council has pledged to dismantle the local police department.
Nine of the 13 councillors said a “new model of public safety” would be created in a city where law enforcement has been accused of racism.
Anti-racism rallies have held for nearly two weeks in the United States, after George Floyd’s death in police custody.
Pinned by the neck for nearly nine minutes by a white officer’s knee, the incident which was captured by a bystander’s cellphone led to an outpouring of outrage and demands for sweeping police reforms.
At a rally in the city of Minneapolis, council members said they plan to invest in community-led safety initiatives instead of the police department.
A twitter post from one of the council members had described the Minneapolis Police Department as not reformable.
The council members said details of the overhaul plan needed to be discussed further but that they would try to shift police funding towards community based strategies.
“Our commitment is do what’s necessary to keep every single member of our community safe and to tell the truth – that the Minneapolis police are not doing that. Our commitment is to end our city’s toxic relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department, to end policing as we know it, and to re-create systems of public safety that actually keep us safe.”
Last week, Minnesota launched a civil rights investigation of the Minneapolis Police Department, with Governor Tim Walz saying he wanted to root out “systemic racism that is generations deep”.
The city council later voted for a number of policing changes, including the ban on chokeholds and neck restraints by police officers.
Officer Derek Chauvin has been dismissed and charged with murder. Three other officers who were at the scene have also been sacked and charged with aiding and abetting.
Mr Floyd’s funeral is scheduled for Tuesday in Houston, his home city before he moved to Minneapolis.