The Minneapolis City Council on Friday unanimously voted to immediately reform the city’s beleaguered police department, including banning chokeholds, but opted against dismantling the department entirely.
All 12 members of the council agreed to make “quick changes,” including the mandating officers immediately speak up if they see an unauthorized use of force by another officer.
Ultimately, a consent decree from the courts will be required to mandate the changes.
On Thursday, the Minneapolis City Council called for the meeting with several members expressing the need to “dismantle” the police department and replace it with “a transformative new model for public safety.”
“We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department. And when we’re done, we’re not simply gonna glue it back together. We are going to dramatically rethink how we approach public safety and emergency response. It’s really past due,” said Jeremiah Ellison, the son of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and a member of the city council.
Lisa Benda, city council president, had echoed Mr. Ellison’s sentiments.
“Yes,’ she tweeted. “We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a transformative new model of public safety.”
In the end, the city council opted for less extreme reforms in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Mr. Floyd, a black man, was seen on a cellphone video pleading with former officers, telling them that he could not breathe as ex-officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into his neck.
Reforms approved Friday required any officer, regardless of rank, to immediately report by radio or cellphone any use of excessive force, including the use of a neck restraint or chokehold by another officer.
Officers must intervene either physically or verbally if they witness excessive force. If they don’t, they will face the same consequences as the officer who used the excessive force.
In addition, officers would require authorization from a top-level police official to use tear gas, rubber bullets, flash-bang grenades or any other crowd-control agents.