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'It Is Time To Stand Up In This City': Twin Cities Citizens Speak Against Dismantling The Police

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Just a few days ago, Leneesha Columbus, was alive and well. But Sunday night someone killed the mother of two, who was 5 months pregnant.

The next day, in Minneapolis, a 12-year-old was shot while riding with his family.

Lisa Clemons is a former officers and a peace activist with "A Mother's Love."  She said to a crowd of reporters, "We cannot have bullets continue to fly in our community."

A panel of African-American violence prevention advocates held what they call an emergency news conference to speak against the city council's push to dismantle the police department.

"It is time to stand up in this city, it is time to tell the city council that utopia is a bunch of B.S. We are not in Mayberry we are in the wild wild west and it is time for some answers," Clemons said.

The press conference was inside a community center, Minneapolis City Councilmember Andrea Jenkins happened to be on business nearby.

Jenkins voted to move closer to dismantling the police department but said she still sees a need for public safety.

"I want to reimagine a police force that responds to the community in a way that is respectful," Jenkins replied.

Lisa Clemons asked about the recent surge in street violence.

"My only response to that is we are going to have, we will have those conversations, we are in an emergency situation," Jenkins added.

Jenkins says she wants more unarmed responders at domestic violence and mental health calls.

Clemons says there needs to be more funding to mentoring programs and she'll be happy to sit at the discussion table.

"That's exactly what I'm proposing, work together, come up with reforms," Jenkins said.

People who want to weigh in on the council's push to remove police from the charter have a chance tomorrow night. There's a virtual meeting of the City Charter Commission that can be viewed here.

Any change would ultimately be decided by voters.

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