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Community Petition To Replace Minneapolis Police Department Moving Forward

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The community-driven charter amendment to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a more holistic approach to public safety is one step closer to being on the November ballot.

Yes 4 Minneapolis, the coalition of activist groups behind the amendment, announced Friday that their petition to the city's charter commission last month had more than 14,000 valid signatures from Minneapolis voters, putting it comfortably over the threshold needed for the petition to go before the city council.

Next, the city council and Mayor Jacob Frey will be tasked to consider the wording for the question to be put on the ballot. The wording must be approved and submitted to Hennepin County officials by Aug. 20 to ensure it appears before voters in November.

The coalition's amendment seeks to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a new Department of Public Safety. One of the key changes would be shifting authority of the police department from the mayor's office to the city council.

The effort to change or replace the city's police department has been pursued by various officials and activists since the police killing of George Floyd last May, in which a jury recently found ex-officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murder. Chauvin is slated to be sentenced in June.

Three other former officers are also charged in the case. Earlier this week, their trial was delayed until next year as all four officers involved in Floyd's death have been indicted on federal civil rights charges.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Justice Department is conducting its own investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the probe will look beyond Floyd's killing, seeking to determine if the department engages in a pattern or practice of using excessive force, including during protests.

Three city council members are also pursuing a charter amendment similar to the one proposed by Yes 4 Minneapolis.

In the immediate wake of Floyd's death last summer, the majority of the city council vowed to defund and replace the police department. However, their efforts were stalled by confusion over what exactly the amendment proposed. As such, it failed to make it before voters last November.

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