A majority of Minneapolis City Council has pledged to dismantle the local police department, a significant move amid nationwide protests sparked by George Floyd’s death last month.

Nine of the 13 councillors said a “new model of public safety” would be created in a city where law enforcement has been accused of racism.

Mayor Jacob Frey earlier opposed the move, drawing boos from the crowds.

Activists, who for years have demanded such a step, called it a turning point.

But commentators say Minneapolis can now expect a long and complex debate over policing, and it remains unclear what form structural reform will take.

Mr Floyd’s death in police custody triggered mass protests against racism and police brutality.

Officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Mr Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, has been dismissed and charged with second-degree murder. He will make his first court appearance later on Monday.

Three other officers who were at the scene have also been sacked and charged with aiding and abetting.

The nine councillors read a statement to hundreds of protesters on Sunday.

“We are here because here in Minneapolis and in cities across the United States it is clear that our existing system of policing and public safety is not keeping our communities safe,” City Council President Lisa Bender was quoted as saying.

“Our efforts at incremental reform have failed. Period.”

Ms Bender said details of the overhaul plan needed to be discussed further, adding that she would try to shift police funding towards community based strategies.

Meanwhile, councillor Alondra Cano tweeted that a ”veto-proof majority” in the council  had agreed that the city police department was “not reformable and that we’re going to end the current policing system”.

Source:BBC

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