Minneapolis, MN – Several candidates for Minneapolis City Council and Mayor said in a local voter’s guide that they can envision a city without police.
The question that the candidates were asked to reply to was “Do you believe that we could ever have a city without police?”
One of the survey’s writers, Ashley Fairbanks, said she included the question because there is a belief that “the police system is rooted in white supremacy and therefore irredeemable”, according to the Star Tribune .
The voter guide was compiled by the nonprofit group ‘Voices for Racial Justice, an activist group that has as one of its slogans on its Facebook page, “no justice no peace.”
The candidates and incumbents who answered the question ‘yes’ said that they do not plan to eliminate the police department.
They tried to clarify their answer and said “they were describing an ideal future in which inequality and racism are eliminated and government policy has solved many of the social problems now handled by police arresting and imprisoning people.”
Fairbanks said that the voter guide has 17 questions including a candidate’s favorite album and transportation infrastructure.
She said, “Police reform doesn’t actually work. We need to radically re-imagine what policing will look like in our community.”
Council candidate Phillipe Cunningham said that a city without police was a “utopian” idea but that the current focus should be police reform, and making police officers “better.”
Other candidates also agreed with the idea of police reform.
Despite answering “yes,” Council Member Alondra Cano said that she would like to see more police presence in her ward, and that the problems of “homelessness, commercial sex exploitation, and chemical dependency are societal issues.”
She also said, “Then you start alleviating the pressure that a lot of police officers feel to address these very deeply rooted challenges in our community, which they themselves know they’re not going to be able to solve.”
In response to the question, two mayoral candidates, two incumbents, and five City Council candidates answered yes.
The City Council candidates were incumbent Lisa Bender; incumbent Alondra Cano; candidate Phillipe Cunningham; candidate Jeremiah Ellison; candidate Janne Flisrand; candidate Ginger Jentzen; and candidate Jeremy Schroeder.
The two mayoral candidates who answered yes were incumbent Council Member Jacob Frey and current state Rep. Ray Dehn.
Current Mayor Betsy Hodges and three mayoral candidates, Nekima Levy-Pounds, Al Flowers, and Aswar Rahman all answered the question ‘no’. One candidate, Tom Hoch, did not complete the survey.