Voters in Minneapolis rejected a ballot measure to overhaul policing that would have given the city council oversight of a new Department of Public Safety and done away with a requirement to employ a minimum number of police officers tied to the city’s population, CNN projects.
The status quo-affirming result is a major setback for the movement to fundamentally reduce or eliminate the role of police in America. Opponents of calls to “defund the police” will point to the vote as fresh evidence that the backlash to police abuse that fueled last year’s protests, which followed the murder of George Floyd by then-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, has run up against a countervailing wall of concern over public safety.
The question of whether to do away with the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a Department of Public Safety resulted from a petition drive following Floyd’s murder.
His death in May 2020 was captured on video by a bystander and the video went viral on social media, leading to protests, rioting and looting across the country. In response to the protests that drew national attention, Minneapolis city councilors gathered in a city park and pledged to dismantle the police department.
More people cast their ballots early this year than any other Minneapolis election in 45 years. Early voting was up 143% compared to the 2017 municipal election, and up 488% compared to the 2013 municipal election. By about five hours into Election Day, about 30% of registered voters had cast a ballot early, by mail, or in person.
This story is breaking and will be updated.
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