Several institutions plan to cut ties with the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) in response to the alleged murder of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died while in police custody on Memorial Day.
University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel informed students last week that the school will no longer contract with the MPD for large events, like football games and concerts, or specialized law enforcement services, such as K-9 explosive detection units.
“We have a responsibility to uphold our values and a duty to honor them. We will limit our collaboration with the MPD to joint patrols and investigations that directly enhance the safety of our community or that allow us to investigate and apprehend those who put our students, faculty, and staff at risk,” Gabel said in her letter.
Gabel closed the university at noon on Thursday “out of respect for the planned memorial service for George Floyd.”
The Minneapolis Board of Education voted unanimously during a Tuesday meeting to terminate its contract with the police department for school resource officers.
“I wanted to share with you that tonight in a special meeting, the Board of Education unanimously approved its resolution to immediately terminate our contract with the Minneapolis Police Department, which provides us with our school resource officers,” Superintendent Ed Graff said in a statement.
“The MPS leadership team and I are committed to preparing a plan that will support the safety of MPS students and staff in the coming school year by the Board resolution’s August 18, 2020 deadline. We look forward to engaging students, staff and families in this process over the summer,” he added.
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board voted the next day to cut ties with the city’s police force, again in a unanimous vote. Under the resolution, the Park and Recreation Board will no longer use Minneapolis police for “park-sanctioned events” and will cease directing park police to respond to MPD calls.
According to Minneapolis Council Member Steve Fletcher, the council approved a measure Friday that allows businesses to use “private security services rather than off-duty Minneapolis police officers” for special events.
The City Council just approved a staff direction instructing business licensing to stop requiring the use of off-duty MPD officers for special events. Thanks to @mplsward2 for bringing that forward, and to the small businesses and event planners who asked us to work on this!
— Steve Fletcher – Minneapolis Ward 3 (@MplsWard3) June 5, 2020
The measure was sent to the Business Licensing Division for implementation and was approved after more than 130 small business owners asked for the change in a letter to city leaders this week.
“It is a city requirement for event planners and organizers to contract with off-duty officers for security at our events. While we agree wholeheartedly that safety is a priority, we strongly disagree that MPD is best positioned to provide the security needed to make sure Minneapolis events are truly safe,” said the letter.
Fletcher said earlier this week that the Minneapolis City Council is looking into “disbanding” the MPD and starting fresh.
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