Minneapolis voters overwhelmingly reject proposal to abolish police

Minneapolis voted against replacing the police — and some of the City Council members who most wanted to do so.

A Minneapolis squad car responds to the scene of a crash in February 2020. (Tony Webster/Flickr)

Minneapolis residents voted down a measure Tuesday night that would have replaced the police department with a new “Department of Public Safety.”

Fifty-six percent of 139,351 voters opposed the proposal, which was the second of three referendum items on their ballots. The vote-yes camp was defeated by 12 percentage points, 56%-44% — a wide margin for what many thought would be a hotly-contested vote.

Voters rejected Question 2 despite an apparently well-funded campaign in support of the amendment launched by a group called Yes 4 Minneapolis.

“We knocked over 100K doors, made almost 200K phone calls, and sent 300K text messages, resulting in over 60k conversations with Minneapolis residents,” the group bemoaned after voting concluded.

Supporters of law enforcement, on the other hand, have taken a much more triumphant tone.

“Minneapolis residents rightly voted against the outrageous and dangerous attempt to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department,” former Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek said after news of the vote totals broke.

“When Governor Walz failed to act and allowed 1,500 businesses to be looted or destroyed during the 2020 riots, it unleashed a flood of lawlessness that made last year Minneapolis’ second-deadliest year on record,” Stanek continued. “To suggest that Minneapolis dismantle its police force while crime consumes the city was worse than foolish.”

Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller echoed this sentiment: “Defunding the police was never a good idea, and I’m happy the residents of Minneapolis have made it clear they are not on board with the anti-police rhetoric.”

Meanwhile, vocal proponents of Question 2 are failing in their own elections. City Council Member Phillipe Cunningham soundly lost reelection against challenger LaTrisha Vetaw. Cunningham earned 30% of the vote while Vetaw got 60%. Cunningham voted last year to lop $8 million from the police budget and infamously gave a speech on a stage that said “defund police” at a protest.

City Councilmen Jeremiah Ellison and Steve Fletcher could also lose their seats. Both of these councilmen support various measures to defund the police, including Question 2.