Minneapolis mayor, Council spar on policing ballot wording

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minneapolis City Council and Mayor Jacob Frey sparred Friday over the language on a ballot proposal to dismantle the city’s police department and remake it into an agency that focuses on public health and safety.

The City Council had pushed wording of the ballot question favored by groups that are pushing to transform the city’s policing, the Star Tribune reported. More than a year after George Floyd’s death sparked a failed push to abolish the Minneapolis Police Department, a well-funded group of activists and several City Council members are trying again. Their initiative would ask voters in November to replace the police department with a “public safety department” that employs licensed peace officers “if necessary.”

But Frey on Friday twice vetoed ballot language approved by the City Council, saying it failed to detail changes like removing a minimum police staffing requirement and the oversight of officers. He said he was “appalled by the lack of transparency” in the shorter ballot wording.

The city faced an 11:59 p.m. deadline to finalize the wording and submit it to county election officials.