Security for me, but not for thee.
Protection for we, social workers for thee? The Minneapolis city council seems determined to prove the hypocrisy of “defund the police,” all the way to the point of satire. Yesterday, the council voted unanimously to pursue a still-ambiguous plan to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a more politically correct “Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention.”
The council voted unanimously to advance a proposal that would create a new Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention. Within that, the city could create a division that includes “licensed peace officers,” though it would not be required to do so.
It’s unclear how many, if any, officers would continue to be employed by the city if the proposal passes.
Council Member Cam Gordon said it’s consistent with the pledge from council members to fundamentally alter local policing in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis officers.
“Those things that we called the police department are gone,” Gordon said. “Certainly, there is a provision in here that would allow this council or future councils to maintain a Division of Law Enforcement Services, but I think what we need to do is have that possibility there and talk to people about what the future should look like.”
Maybe we should know what the “future” looks like before changing the present. The city council can’t actually change the present anyway, thanks to a city charter that requires them to maintain a police department with precise staffing levels. The best they can do under the charter is impose a cut of around 20%, but even that would fall afoul of the collective bargaining agreement with the police union. (Agreements negotiated and signed by a succession of progressive city councils, I might add here.) That makes yesterday’s vote an exercise in pusillanimity; there’s no cost to it at all.
That’s more than we can say about the three most vocal advocates for eliminating police on the city council. Minneapolis has shelled out $4500 a day in private security at the same time these councillors have plotted to dismantle policing in the city, the local Fox News affiliate reported late last night: