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Minneapolis City Council Taking First Steps to 'Dismantle' Police Department

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/06/05/minneapolis-city-council-taking-first-steps-dismantle-police-department


I guess Ms. Bender thinks black people don’t care if their garage is burglarized and robbed?

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I agree that was a ridiculous comment. I’ve hard my car broken into once and I’ve been mugged at gunpoint once, and though I sustained no bodily injury in either episode I’d have been damn pissed if I couldn’t even report the instances to a functioning police department.

I’m for a lot of reforms, including drug and sex work legalization. But I expect police to do the job they are supposed to do. I hope this doesn’t backfire on the left.

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I’m not a big fan of the idea of dismantling police (you still need something to deter/punish theft and violent crime), but if a city wants to try and create a more just system still maintains public order in our non-utopian capitalist society, then great! And if it fails, then lesson learned, hobbes reaffirmed.

I guess you’ll just ignore the success of Camden, NJ.

They dismantled the police force and have since seen a drop in crime.
There is still a force to serve and protect – they just serve the public differently.


Racial inequality in the justice system has to start with addressing wealth inequality. The type of crime they are speaking off is a direct result of an entire group having a fraction of the wealth of another group.

Back in the England of Dickens young boys would be hung or imprisoned for theft. They would be hung or imprisoned for theft for stealing a loaf of bread. They would steal a loaf of bread because they were hungry and it was a “I either starve to death or take the chance and steal a loaf of bread so I do not starve to death”

The need for law enforcement drops as wealth inequality drops. This does not mean crime disappears entirely and there no need for the Police in a much more equal society but it does mean the use of the law to punish transgressors becomes more an exception then a rule.


what was it phil ochs said about people like this? oh yeah…

10 degrees to the left of center in good times. 10 degrees to the right if it affects them personally.

or, as another part of the song went:

I go to civil rights rallies
And i put down the old d.a.r.
I love harry and sidney and sammy
I hope every colored boy becomes a star
But don’t talk about revolution
That’s going a little bit too far

never changes. people wear their class like a neon sign.


Words words words.

I’ll believe it when I see it.

And given my intense distrust of the organized, corporatized “public safety” sector, I’m not sure shifting anything over to them will necessarily be an improvement.

But we will see.

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“The End of Policing” by Alex Vitale is a great guide.

I’m somewhat familiar with Camden, but I don’t think the plan there was to decriminalize burglary so that the ‘crime’ rate decreased. Camden reformed their law enforcement, they did not end it by any means. They still don’t allow murders or robberies, nor do they just depend on everyone to defend themselves. Law enforcement is a requirement in a civilized society, otherwise there are no laws.

If the average Somali looks at the average American black family, he thinks they are ‘rich’. I fear there will always be envy and covetousness no matter how well off people are; millionaires envy billionaires. There has never been an ‘equal’ society and probably never will be.

Entrenched police forces in many places are beyond reform, that is clear as we have seen murder after murder and sadist abuses for many decades and nothing has changed.
That said I want to see officials track-down the police plant provocateur that incited and committed violence in Minneapolis - the so-called Umbrella Man. If his identity and connection to police are not followed-thru, reformers will have lost a great legal tool and force of truth to show how corrupt police forces operate as a matter of course!

Don’t allow the police provocateur Umbrella Man to be swept under the carpet!


Again you have no clue what you talk about. There have been equal societies in the past and there are societies that exist today that are far more equal then is the USA.

There an entire world out side of the USA and History did not start in 1776.


Please tell me a society, past or present where every person possessed exactly the same amount of wealth, the same amount of power, exactly the same choices. I might be wrong but I doubt it. Of course one can find societies where almost everyone is poor, or that the rich shelter their wealth more effectively from view. Perhaps we have different definitions of ‘equality’; do you refer to economic equality where everyone has amount of yearly income? or possibly that each person’s say in running society is equal.

That was an interesting lead from @SkepticTank as I was not familiar with that move. I’d rather not read Bloomberg, but that is the link I found first (~https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-04/how-camden-new-jersey-reformed-its-police-department).

You are right in that Camden certainly has policing of buglaries still happening, but SkepticTank is right in that it was a pretty big change:

So in 2013, the mayor and city council dissolved the local PD and signed an agreement for the county to provide shared services. The new county force is double the size of the old one, and officers almost exclusively patrol the city. (They were initially nonunion but have since unionized.)

I also really liked this part:

While many departments define “reasonable” force in the line of duty vaguely, Camden’s definition is much clearer. The department adopted an 18-page use-of-force policy in 2019, developed with New York University’s Policing Project. The rules emphasize that de-escalation has to come first. Deadly force—such as a chokehold or firing a gun—can only be used in certain situations, once every other tactic has been exhausted. “It requires that force is not only reasonable and necessary, but that it’s proportionate,” says Farhang Heydari, executive director of the Policing Project. Most important, “they’re requirements. They’re not suggestions.”

I expect that last part for every police department in the US.


I agree. There also needs to be a prohibition against no-knock warrants, especially those executed at night. I would even argue that civil forfeiture is not only unconstitutional but encourages systemic corruption. In addition the entire bail system needs to be reformed - it is too often used as a punishment by placing exorbitant sums on the accused. It should only be required in cases where the defendant has a history of not showing up for court, or is a bona-fide flight risk.


How about we start with equal treatment under the law – and the laws themselves get cleaned up in terms of resorting to brutality as a last resort in black communities?

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It is time to end “qualified immunity” from prosecution that the police enjoy. No wonder the bad apples rarely get fired. No other occupation has such a broad excuse. If I was a bouncer at a nightclub and I beat someone to death, would I have qualified immunity, even if I was “qualified” to be a security guard? No. Maybe not the best example but you know what I mean.


How about it being a last resort in ALL communities?

Good point. So-called qualified immunity for one class is just wrong; police should be under the same criteria for self defense that I am as a civilian.