Minneapolis voted to keep its police force in tack on Tuesday (November 2) after a ballot measure was overwhelmingly rejected.
Election Day in Minneapolis left the city's police force on the chopping block after a proposal to replace the department with a "public health-oriented" office of public safety was added to the ballot. The proposal was denied after 56% of voters chose to keep the Minneapolis Police Department in the city's charter.
This vote against replacing police comes 17 months after George Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer and after Congress stopped negotiations on a federal-level police reform bill named after Floyd.
On the national level, the ballot measure was seen as a test of the Defund the Police movement that was sparked following the police-involved killings of Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Rayshard Brooks and so many others. The movement also sparked controversy across party lines after local leaders say its mission was "mischaracterized."
"We spoke the truth while the opposition, Democrats and Republicans alike, spread lies and mischaracterized our measure to create confusion, distrust, and fear," the "Yes" campaign said in a statement following the election results.
According to NPR, days after Floyd's death, most members of the Minneapolis City Council attended public rallies of the Defund movement, but some have backed away from the idea after the city –– like many across the country –– saw a surge in violent crime.
Yes Campaign spokeswoman JaNaé Bates said the measure would be "an expansion of public safety" by allowing the city to choose how it responds to crime.
"You actually can staff the department the way that meets the needs of the people," Bates told the outlet last month. "We wanted to really be centered and focused on the safety of human beings."
The Defund movement called for cutting cities' police budgets to reinvest in addressing key areas impacting communities including mental health, housing, and more.
Some cities have implemented mental health first-responders in an attempt to avoid fatal or violent police encounters for those experiencing mental health crises.
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