Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender spoke with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on Monday, dodging a question on what people facing danger from criminals would do if her efforts to “dismantle” the city’s police department succeeded.
Bender has been among the most vocal politicians behind the movement to dismantle the city’s police force in the wake of the May 25 death of George Floyd in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department. Last week she said “[w]e are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a transformative new model of public safety” and over the weekend she joined a veto-proof majority of the council committing to “dismantle” the law enforcement institution, Fox News reported.
“So what are you trying to do?” Alisny Camerota asked. “Are you hoping by dismantling the Minneapolis Police Department that you will be getting rid of the police department?”
“I think in Minneapolis, watching George Floyd’s death, and the four — the actions of the four police officers that were involved has been a huge wake-up call for so many in Minneapolis to see what many already knew, which is that our police department is not keeping every member of our community safe,” Lisa Bender responded.
Camerota told Bender: “But to be clear, you’re not talking about reform. The word dismantle is intentionally different than reform. This is more than reform. This is dismantling. I mean, activists who support this, are calling this a police free future.”
Bender also told the CNN host that she “answered yes” in 2017, to “a future without police” when running for office. “I answered yes to the question. To me, that future is a long way away, and it would take an enormous amount of investment in things that we know work to keep people safe. … Folks are asking to stop spending so much money in this militarized police force, and instead, invest in the things that our community really needs,” she said. Continued Below
“I know the statement was bold and I stand by that bold statement, but the work ahead of us will be long. It will include every member of our community, it has to,” Bender said.
“Do you understand that the word, dismantle, or police-free also makes some people nervous, for instance? What if in the middle of [the] night, my home is broken into? Who do I call?” Camerota asked the Minneapolis City Council President.
“Yes, I mean, I hear that loud and clear from a lot of my neighbors,” Bender replied. “And I know — and myself, too, and I know that that comes from a place of privilege. Because for those of us for whom the system is working, I think we need to step back and imagine what it would feel like to already live in that reality where calling the police may mean more harm is done.” Video Below
Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender’s full remarks:
Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender on the intent to defund and dismantle the city’s police department: “[We] have looked up ways we can shift the response away from our armed police officers… the groundwork is laid already”https://t.co/wpF6KVqkBv pic.twitter.com/RdYbkqEdhL
— New Day (@NewDay) June 8, 2020
Jeremiah Ellison, the son of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and also a member of the Minneapolis City Council, was explicit in a tweet last week. Lisa Bender responded saying, “Yes. We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department”.
Yes. We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a transformative new model of public safety. https://t.co/FCfjoPy64k
— Lisa Bender (@lisabendermpls) June 4, 2020
Over the weekend, Mayor Jacob Frey of Minneapolis, was shouted at by protestors who chanted “Shame” and “Go home, Jacob, go home,” after he declined to commit to defunding the police.
Here’s the video of Mayor Frey being asked about defunding the police. pic.twitter.com/MAeVVLfVo7
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) June 7, 2020