After weeks of violent riots and protests following the killing of George Floyd by a former Minneapolis police officer, member of the city council have vowed to dismantle the police department — a decision that has sparked concern as crime continues to escalate.
Hoping to persuade the city council members to change course, a group of black peace activists held an “urgent news conference” Tuesday to speak out against the city’s plan to do away with its police department, according to WCCO-TV.
Lisa Clemons, a former police officer who now works as a peace activist with “A Mother’s Love,” told reporters, “We cannot continue to watch these bullets flying through our community.”
“It is time for us to stand up in this city,” she continued. “It is time to tell the City Council that utopia is a bunch of B.S. We are not in Mayberry R.F.D. We are in the Wild, Wild West, and it is time for some answers.”
After the press event, Clemons was speaking to a local news reporter when Andrea Jenkins, a member of the Minneapolis city council who voted for dismantling the police, showed up.
Challenged over the issue, Jenkins laughed and said she is aware the crime-ridden city still needs law enforcement officers, but said the police department needs to be “reimagined.”
“I want to reimagine a police force that responds to the community in a way that is respectful,” she said.
As for the surge in violence, the councilwoman said, “My only response to that is we are going to have — we will have those conversations. We are in an emergency situation.”
Clemons, for her part, told Jenkins she would be happy to participate in a round-table discussion about how best to move forward. Jenkins said she is eager to “work together” to “come up with reforms.”
Before the Minneapolis Police Department could actually be dismantled, it should be noted, such a measure would have to be voted on by the citizens of the city.