Minneapolis Voters Will Determine the Future of City's Public Safety

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Safiya Mohamed reports:

On Friday the Minneapolis City Council approved the ballot language for the public safety charter amendment. The 9-4 vote overrode Mayor Jacob Frey’s second veto of the bill. Frey had argued that the ballot question lacked transparency.

Minister JaNae Bates is with Yes 4 Minneapolis - a coalition of activists, organizations, and Twin Cities residents - that has spearheaded the push to include the public safety question on the ballot. She says the council’s vote means the coalition’s vision for public safety is that much closer to becoming a reality.

“Yes 4 Minneapolis has been excitedly pushing to create a Department of Public Safety, and what this does is it will replace our current armed police response only model that we have in Minneapolis with a department that’s more expansive,” said Bates.

The proposed Department of Public Safety would include mental health specialists, violence interrupters and other crisis intervention experts. Bates says the charter is a first-step in implementing the changes that community members have been asking for.

“This is an opportunity for folks to come together and declare that they actually are ready to really be safe,” she said, “and that we can do that with police officers, we can do that with mental health specialists, we can do that with all the qualified professionals we need.”

Bates says the next step is to rally voters. Minneapolis residents can vote on the ballot starting September 17th. She says, given everything that’s happened since George Floyds’ murder, she believes the city of Minneapolis is ready to come together and heal.

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