Police Defunding Gets Mixed Reviews from Blacks in Minneapolis

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Minneapolis’s North Side, with a majority Black population, has mixed opinions on the City Council’s effort to reduce the size and scope of Minneapolis’s police force, the New York Times reports. Residents complain of rampant police mistreatment, but also about out-of-control crime and violence. That reality has left many Blacks unenthusiastic about the defund movement. They say they despise the police but need someone to call when things go awry. Proponents of defunding argue that having considerably fewer — or no — police officers could reduce crime because those resources could instead be invested into communities struggling with poverty.

In a survey of likely voters in 10 battleground states, just under half of Black respondents said they would be more likely to support a candidate who made defunding the police a priority, according to the poll by Run for Something, which supports young, progressive candidates, and Collective PAC, which backs Black candidates. Reducing police department budgets drew support from 70 percent of Blacks, found a Gallup poll in July. Only 22 percent of Blacks supported zeroing out police departments altogether. “What are they suggesting would be the answer if we didn’t have police?” asked Bunny Beeks, whose mother was fatally shot in North Minneapolis four years ago. “I just don’t understand what that would look like.” Some Minneapolis council members would like to replace the existing police department, which has been widely criticized for its aggressive attitudes toward Blacks. Most North Side residents hope for major reforms, including requiring officers to live in their community and better training them to interact with residents. The council would replace the police department with a new public safety agency. That would provide a blank canvas on which city leaders could create a new mechanism for public safety that could include social services and crime-prevention initiatives.

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