The demonstrations that have awakened citizens in every corner of the country got their spark in the streets of Minneapolis, where George Floyd was murdered by police officers. Lisa Bender, President of Minneapolis City Council, has tasked herself with ensuring his death was not in vain by compelling law enforcement to reimagine the way it interacts with the public. One of the most visible points of progress was the recent resolution to disband the MPD, and here she goes into detail on what a new model of policing may look like.
0:59 Decoding Defunding
At first glance, a phrase like ¨defund the police¨ may seem so radical as to entirely upend civil society. However, a central element of Bender´s current work in city council is demystifying the concept of redirecting resources away from armed patrols and toward community-focused and mental health-driven solutions. Through carefully considered measures such as these, society can address the root causes of crime and potentially turn out more well-adjusted citizens that require less intervention from the state in the first place.
3:19 Systemic Concerns
Derek Chauvin, the principal officer involved in the George Floyd, stands as a stark example of conventional police training´s limits. A 19-year veteran of the force, Chauvin nonetheless acted with wanton disregard for both the law and public safety, drawing the policies of the department in general into scrutiny. Pointing to the egregious nature of the case, the City Council President advocates for a complete overhaul of the policing structure in Minneapolis and outlines her efforts to work with the community and identify viable alternatives.
7:06 Erasing the ¨Thin Blue Line¨
A particularly problematic aspect of police brutality in the United States is the culture of protection for officers who engage in violent misconduct. While she holds up labor unions as essential to protecting the workers of her city, she also expresses concern at the amount of power and leverage police unions have gained in Minneapolis and across the nation. In her view, transparency lies at the core of the worst issues associated with modern law enforcement, and so structural changes must be aimed at promoting accountability.
8:51 A City Without Cops?
As a community leader, Lisa Bender understands the importance in fostering a sense of security in her neighborhood. However, she contends that most situations that result in a call to 911 do not merit an armed response. Social workers, civilian watches, and local investment in quality of life would form the basis for a proposed new system for stabilizing society on an everyday basis, with what she hopes are more enduring and beneficial results.
14:59 The Brewing Political Revolution
Despite representing what is nominally a Democrat-run city, the agenda of Minneapolis City Council is seen as radical in the larger party dynamic. Pushback from the political sphere is constant, but with the support of her fellow City Council members and an ample infusion of public will, Lisa Bender has been able to foment tangible changes for those most affected by the current national conversations, and turn the eyes of a nation to long-understudied issues.
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