Trio of Minneapolis council members proposes new plan to scrap police department but keep officers

The plan mandates a new Department of Public Safety "to provide for a comprehensive approach to public safety beyond law enforcement."

Three Minneapolis City Council members introduced a proposal Thursday that would nix the city's police department and replace it with a new Department of Public Safety, while still keeping officers in the city. 

The plan -- proposed by Phillipe Cunningham, Steve Fletcher and Jeremy Schroeder -- said the new setup would also include "additional divisions ... to provide for a comprehensive approach to public safety beyond law enforcement."

The council has been pushing for sweeping reforms to the police department after protests rocked Minneapolis for months following the death of George Floyd in late May. Floyd died in police custody after an officer could be seen on video kneeling on his neck for more than 8 minutes while other members of law enforcement stood by without intervening. 

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In December, two council members -- Fletcher and Cunningham -- denied their involvement with the "defund the police" movement just days after the council approved a budget that shifted approximately $8 million from the police department.

Another proposal blocked by the city's Charter Commission last year, preventing it from appearing on the November ballot for a vote, initially proposed a Department of Public Safety as an optional until, but the new proposal says it would now be mandatory. 

Council members have also proposed new language that eliminates the clause in the city charter that gives "complete power" of the police department's operations to the mayor and expands it to the council, a measure Mayor Jacob Frey says could be problematic due to council members' varying perspectives on public safety. 

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"Minneapolis residents are imagining a comprehensive public safety approach that is more effective and more reflective of our values, and they are calling on the city to act," Fletcher said in a statement. "This charter amendment creates a structure that supports that vision and allows our city to innovate."

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The Star Tribune reported that other city services, such as the Office of Violence Prevention or 911, could roll into a Department of Public Safety, but that those details would be worked out later.

The three council members did not immediately return Fox News' request for comment.

Fox News' Stephanie Pagones contributed to this report, as well as The Associated Press.