Far-left “Squad” member Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison (D) have both come out in favor of a ballot measure which would replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a public safety department — a move which would signify a major victory for the radical “Defend the Police” movement.
The Star Tribune reports:
A yes vote in November would change the city’s charter and create a Department of Public Safety to employ “a comprehensive public health approach” that could include police officers “if necessary.” The issue is dividing some progressives from their moderate Minnesota DFL colleagues as national attention is trained on Minneapolis. […]
The proposal, written by a political coalition called Yes 4 Minneapolis, would remove the requirement for Minneapolis to fund a police department with a minimum number of officers based on the city’s population. Earlier this year, a judge ordered the city to hire more police officers, saying it wasn’t fulfilling the requirements outlined in the city charter. If the proposal passes, the mayor and City Council would flesh out details of the new department, including its specific funding levels.
In an op-ed for the Tribune, Omar claimed that the measure would help make communities safer and curb police brutality. “The truth is the current system hasn’t been serving our city for a long time,” she wrote Tuesday. “I have long said we need a public safety system that is actually rooted in people’s basic human needs.”
Ellison, a former member of Congress, wrote on social media that measure would help bring “accountability” to Minneapolis, where George Floyd died last May.
“Fundamentally, communities across Mpls need & want the possibility for reform & accountability, which the current Charter blocks by locking us into an outdated model for law enforcement and safety,” Ellison tweeted. “They want to end the cycle of inaction.”
“This year the residents of [Minneapolis] have asked for and can take that first step of action on the ballot. As a resident of [Minneapolis] where George Floyd’s murder sparked a national call for real reform, I will vote Yes for greater public safety & more human rights for all. #Yes4Minneapolis,” he added.
Fundamentally, communities across Mpls need & want the possibility for reform & accountability, which the current Charter blocks by locking us into an outdated model for law enforcement and safety. They want to end the cycle of inaction.
— Keith Ellison (@keithellison) August 31, 2021
Democrat opposition to the measure includes Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
Meanwhile, three Minneapolis residents have filed a lawsuit over the ballot measure.
Two of the plaintiffs are former City Council member Don Samuels and his wife, Sondra, who oppose the movement to defund the police. The couple were part of a successful lawsuit against the city after the number of police officers fell below the minimum requirement set in the charter.
Attorney Joseph Anthony wrote in a court petition that the question as worded “hides” information from voters that would help them understand it.
It’s the second time this summer that the city has been sued over the ballot question. A judge earlier tossed out an explanatory note that the city had sought to attach to the ballot question that aimed to highlight some of the measure’s effects.
Attorneys for the city said they were reviewing the lawsuit.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.