Following the murder of George Floyd that sparked protests and riots across the country, Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender has announced that she supports dismantling the Minneapolis Police Department and reevaluating how they handle public safety.
The announcement began when Councilman Jeremiah Ellison, son of state Attorney General Keith Ellison, called for the dismantling of MPD on Twitter. “We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department,” Ellison wrote. Ellison went on to say, “And when we’re done, we’re not simply gonna glue it back together.”
We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department.— Jeremiah Ellison (@jeremiah4north) June 4, 2020
And when we’re done, we’re not simply gonna glue it back together.
We are going to dramatically rethink how we approach public safety and emergency response.
It’s really past due. https://t.co/7WIxUL6W79
Ellison’s tweet claims Minneapolis leaders will be reevaluating “how we approach public safety and emergency response.” Bender later echoed Ellison’s message in a tweet. “Yes. We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a transformative new model of public safety.”
Yes. We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a transformative new model of public safety. https://t.co/FCfjoPy64k— Lisa Bender (@lisabendermpls) June 4, 2020
Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis by Officer Derek Chauvin, Officer J. Alexander Kueng, Officer Thomas Lane, and Officer Tou Thao. Video of the murder was shared to social media where it went viral. Despite outrage from across the country, MPD did not arrest Chauvin until days after the incident. The anger led to unprecedented riots in Minneapolis and other parts of the country.
Chauvin was eventually arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The arrest only intensified uprisings around the country. Many were angered by the time it took for Chauvin to be charged and felt the charges were not enough, not to mention the fact the other three officers were not charged.
Lane and Kueng were the first officers to respond to the call of Floyd attempting to use a counterfeit $20 bill inside Cup Foods grocery store. Lane had only been on the force four days and Kueng was only on his his third full shift. Lane found Floyd parked nearby and pulled his gun, then got Floyd out of his vehicle and handcuffed him.
Floyd eventually ended up face down with Lane pressing down on his knees, Kueng on his back and Chauvin pressing his knee into the back of his neck. Chauvin pressed his knee into the back of Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes even though he became unresponsive. Meanwhile, Thao is seen on video keeping witnesses from preventing the murder. Before going unconscious, Floyd told officers “I can’t breathe” and cried out for his deceased mother.
The official autopsy from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner listed Floyd’s death as a “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.” The medical examiner ruled that Floyd’s death was a homicide but claimed there were “significant” underlying conditions, including hypertensive heart disease, fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use. However, an independent autopsy for the family found the officers pressing on Floyd’s neck and back cut blood flow to his brain, which caused him to die by mechanical asphyxia.
On Wednesday it was announced the other three officers involved were arrested and charged with aiding and abetting murder and aiding and abetting manslaughter. A judge ordered Kueng, Lane and Thao be held with an unconditional bail of $1 million compounded with $750,000 of conditional bail. No pleas were entered at that time. Chauvin’s charges were also upgraded to second-degree murder. All four officers are now facing a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.