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By AMY FORLITI, Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minneapolis commission decided Wednesday to take more time to review a City Council amendment to dismantle the Police Department in the wake of George Floyd’s death, ending the possibility of voters deciding the issue in November.

The Charter Commission had expressed concern that the process to change the city’s charter was being rushed after Floyd died following an encounter with a Minneapolis police officer.

Some commissioners said they were more concerned with making the right changes, rather than making them fast.

The proposed amendment followed widespread criticism of law enforcement over Floyd’s death. It would have replaced the Police Department with a “Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention” that backers said would take a more “holistic” approach. That approach wasn’t fully defined.

The proposal would have allowed for some armed police officers. It called for a division of licensed peace officers, who would have answered to the new department’s director.

“The council says ‘Trust us. We’ll figure it out after this is approved. Trust us.’ Well I don’t, and we shouldn’t,” said Barry Clegg, chairman of the Charter Commission. “Charter change is too important.”

The issue would likely have gone to voters if the commission had acted decisively either for or against the amendment. That’s because the City Council was required only to consult the commission and was not bound by their action. But the lack of a final decision means the proposal won’t clear deadlines to make the ballot this November.

A similar move by the commission effectively ended a proposed charter change in 2018 that would have given the City Council more control over the department.

The process has unfolded during a violent summer in Minneapolis after Floyd's death, with shootings dramatically higher than last year. Many residents are worried about a proposal to “abolish” police officers.

Some City Council members promised a robust process to get public input on how a new department would look and work.

Council member Steve Fletcher, one of the authors of the proposal, said before the vote that even if the commission decided it needed more time, the city would continue to move ahead with the community engagement process to “build a collective vision of what we really want the future of public safety to look like.”

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he remains opposed to eliminating the department.

“We should not go down the route of simply abolishing the Police Department,” Frey said. “What we need to see within this department, and within many departments throughout the country, is a full-on culture shift.”

Floyd, a Black man who was handcuffed, died May 25 after Derek Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes, as Floyd said he couldn’t breathe. Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder and other counts, and three other officers at the scene were charged with aiding and abetting. All four officers were fired, and Floyd’s death sparked protests in Minneapolis and around the world.

The mayor and Chief Medaria Arradondo have moved ahead with their own changes since Floyd’s death, including requiring officers to document attempts to de-escalate situations whether or not force is used. They also have expanded requirements for reporting use-of-force incidents, ordering officers to provide more detail.

Arradondo also pulled the department out of negotiations for a union contract, saying he wanted a review designed to change the grievance and arbitration process, which he said makes it hard to get rid of problem officers.

According to draft language of the amendment posted online, the new department proposed by the City Council “will have responsibility for public safety services prioritizing a holistic, public health-oriented approach.” The director of the new agency would have “non-law-enforcement experience in community safety services, including but not limited to public health and/or restorative justice approaches.”

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Tags: Minnesota

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Offset briefly detained by police near gathering of Trump supporters, passenger arrested and charged

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NYPD Probing Officer Who Blared 'Trump 2020' From Patrol SUV

By MICHAEL R. SISAK, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Police Department said it is investigating after an officer was seen on video Saturday saying “Trump 2020” over a patrol vehicle's loudspeaker.

Commissioner Dermot Shea tweeted Sunday that the officer's behavior was “One hundred percent unacceptable. Period.” Officers must remain apolitical, he said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said: “ANY NYPD Officer pushing ANY political agenda while on duty will face consequences. We will act fast here, and this will not be tolerated.”

A message seeking comment was left with the union representing patrol officers.

Videos posted on social media captured the officer bellowing his support of President Donald Trump from a marked police department SUV just before 10 p.m. Saturday. The vehicle was parked in a crosswalk with lights flashing in Brooklyn’s Flatbush neighborhood.

“Trump 2020,” the officer is heard saying, taunting someone on the street who was recording him. “Put it on YouTube. Put it on Facebook. Trump 2020.”

The incident happened days after NYPD officials downplayed concerns that Trump's support among law enforcement personnel, including a city police union’s endorsement, would impact how officers do their jobs — particularly when dealing with people voting or protesting against the president.

“When we put on this uniform, we are apolitical,” Chief of Department Terence Monahan said. “We have no stance in one way or another.”

The Police Benevolent Association, the city's largest police union, threw its support behind Trump in August.

Trump, a Republican, has campaigned for reelection on a law-and-order agenda, portraying himself as a counterweight to the police reform protests that erupted across the U.S. in recent months.

Many police officers also support Trump, viewing him as more of an ally to their pro-police “Blue Lives Matter” and “Back the Blue” movements than his Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.

De Blasio, a Democrat, said last week that he didn’t think officers would let their personal political views bleed into their professional responsibilities.

“You’re going to have police officers that have views across the spectrum, but I also think we’ve seen overwhelmingly officers leave their politics at home and they go and do what has to be done to keep people safe and to respect peaceful protest,” de Blasio said at a news briefing last Tuesday.

“Any officer who can’t or won’t do that we have to discipline and we have to address, but I don’t get an indication that that is a widespread challenge.”

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Follow Michael Sisak on Twitter at twitter.com/mikesisak

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Tags: New York, Associated Press

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