Even though there’s widespread agreement that police departments need reform, deciding on those reforms has largely been an exercise in futility. While some lawmakers and protestors are working in good faith toward things like public sector union reform, those screaming the loudest seem to want completely unrealistic, highly damaging things.
One of those things is de-funding police departments. Minneapolis’ City Council President is pledging to do just that.
Here’s the story:
Chief among those calling for change is Northside council member Jeremiah Ellison, who on Thursday tweeted “we are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department.”
“And when we’re done, we’re not simply gonna glue it back together,” he added. “We are going to dramatically rethink how we approach public safety and emergency response. It’s really past due.”
Ellison, the 5th Ward council member who is the son of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and Minneapolis Public Schools Board Chair Kim Ellison, is not alone in expressing a desire to bring an end to MPD in its current form.
Council president Lisa Bender backed Ellison’s call, tweeting: “Yes. We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a transformative new model of public safety.”
What that actually means is anyone’s guess. These are ideas that are only fit for angry sloganeering, not the real world. What is a “transformative new model of public safety” supposed to entail? Unarmed safety squads? What happens when you need to arrest a criminal? What happens when someone is trying to hurt another person? None of the people pushing these ideas will answer those questions. Every now and then, you’ll get a link to some article in Slate or some other rag that offers no actual details.
It’s a utopian ideal, but worse, it’s dangerous for black people. As I’ve written before, stopping police brutality and holding those who do evil deeds accountable has to be a top priority, but if we are talking raw numbers, how many black people would die if police just left their neighborhoods and went home? How many would die if police weren’t armed and capable of handling difficult situations? The answer is a heck of a lot more than are killed by police each year.
At the end of the day, policy decisions have to be rational. They can not be formed out of emotional outbursts like is clearly happening on the Minneapolis City Council. That’s how people end up dead despite all the “best intentions” in the world.