Seven Minneapolis police officers have quit and more than six additional officers are in the process of quitting after calls to defund police and disband the department left them feeling unsupported, according to the Star Tribune. Deputy chief Henry Halvorson wrote in an e-mail the Star Tribune obtained that he’s heard “second-hand information” that officers “separated with the city without completing paperwork.” Police spokesman John Elder told the Star Tribune on Friday that the officers’ leave would not impact policing services in the city, which employs about 850 officers.
Mylan Masson, a retired Minneapolis cop and use-of-force expert, however, defended officers. “Why should I stay?” he asked the Star Tribune. “They don’t feel appreciated. Everybody hates the police right now. I mean everybody.”
That might have a little something to do with one of them kneeling on an unarmed man’s neck for more than eight minutes while other officers stood by and watched. The visible loss of faith in Minneapolis cops following George Floyd’s death in police custody might also be related to their response to unrest throughout the city—more violence. A reporter was blinded in one eye when an officer shot a rubber bullet at her while she was covering a protest in the city, and a lawsuit filed on behalf of journalists lists several similar incidents.
“When law enforcement officers target members of the press with impunity, they strike at the root of our democracy,” the ACLU of Minnesota said in a news release after filing the lawsuit. “Law enforcement officers who perpetrate these abuses must be held accountable for their actions to the fullest extent of the law.”
Along those lines, the Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved a resolution Friday to disband the city’s police force and create a “transformative new model” in its place, council member Alondra Cane announced. “We acknowledge that the current system is not reformable—that we would like to end the current policing system as we know it,” Cane told CNN.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey was booed off stage at a rally June 6 for refusing to back that measure. “Go home, Jacob, go home!” protesters shouted.
Four days later, he appeared to support Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo’s decision to refuse to negotiate a new contract with the police union. “We don’t just need a new contract with the police,” Frey tweeted. “We need a new compact between the people of Minneapolis and the people trusted to protect and serve – and we need to go farther than we ever have in making sweeping structural reform.”
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