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A supermajority the the Minneapolis City Council cursed to dismantling the Minneapolis Police Department before a crowd gathered in ~ Powderhorn Park in Minneapolis, Minnesota, top top June 7, 2020. The decision came after protests and riots in the wake up of the police death of George Floyd. The event, “The path Forward: ar Meeting v City board of directors Members,” was arranged by Reclaim The Block and also Black Visions. Photo by Tony Webster.

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Minneapolis City the supervisory board Member Phillipe Cunningham said during a current candidate forum that he had actually no idea there was a large sign top top the front of the phase that stated “DEFUND POLICE” when he went on stage at a Powderhorn Park rally with eight that his board of directors colleagues.

It to be 13 work after George Floyd’s fatality at the hand of police, and also the council members made global news through their vow to “begin the process of ending” the police room in prior of thousands of people in the park.

Propped up in front of the phase — held together by chicken wire and taped to the phase — were hard-to-miss large, white block letter spelling the end “DEFUND POLICE.” 

But Cunningham freshly said throughout a gyeongju Justice Network candidate forum the he go not watch the “defund police” sign before walking ~ above the stage, and also said he had made it clear to the rally organizer, black Visions, that he would not pledge come defund the police. 

“Would ns stand on the phase now and agree come dismantle? ns wouldn’t use that language, no, but I… tho agree that a mechanism reorganization is a common sense next step,” he claimed on the virtual candidate forum top top Zoom. “We stated we would certainly not it is in a component of other that claims ‘defund the police,’ and then they placed ‘defund police’ ~ above the prior of the stage.”

Council Members Alondra Cano and also Andrea Jenkins were likewise onstage that day, but have due to the fact that largely sided through the mayor on policing issues. 

If he might do it end again, Cunningham claimed he would have likewise done “a 360” roughly the stage and also probably noticed the sign, he said. 

“I’m in my very first term, i don’t have people — staff — who development me and do a 360 roughly stages,” the said. “I gone into through the earlier of the stage and I exited with the ago of the stage; ns did not understand it stated ‘defund police’ top top the prior of the stage until I observed the snapshot in the brand-new York Times.”

He and also other council members have said black Visions originally wanted the council members come pledge to cut the police department by $45 million, and also they refused.

During the candidate forum, gyeongju Justice Network founder Nekima levying Armstrong asked Cunningham if he later told his ingredient he didn’t understand what he was signing increase for once he agreed to it is in a part of the rally. 

“No,” he replied. “This is a part that’s no fair. I’m human, and also so ns was embarrassed because I didn’t recognize that that was on the former of the stage. Like, friend know, I got got. And also now civilization are speak I’ve talked around defunding the police. I’ve literally never ever said that. Ns have constantly responded v ‘We need to reimagine public safety.’ Defund is not the right way to talk around it. Yet now it’s grounding on my forehead due to the fact that I obtained got by organizations.”

Video that the rally mirrors Cunningham walk indigenous the next of the stage to measures in front, simply to the next of the sign. He talked onstage around the possibility to dismantle police and also rebuild public security with a public health approach.

“All the money has been going right into the police department, and what have we obtained in return? Pain, trauma, and also hurts. It is time for us to get behind community and also get behind the strategies that we know work, and also you have a bulk of the city council below today, prepared to ago that up,” he claimed onstage that day. 

Black Visions, i beg your pardon led the push for the Powderhorn Park pledge, did not immediately respond come a request for comment, however Kandace Montgomery, co-director of black Visions, has actually said the the supervisory board members to be making a meeting to start the process of defunding police.

In an interview, Cunningham stated he stand by every little thing he stated that day onstage, and also since — the the police department need to be dismantled and rebuilt.

“I believed it was bad messaging,” to say “defund the police,” that said.

He claimed he to be “mortified” as soon as he observed the photograph of the board of directors members. He claimed it’s “ludicrous” that civilization have such a permanent on that minute onstage.

“So, I have tried come be more transparent about it and be open about it, yet I mean, I’m a human, and also it’s embarrassing to have been quite frankly deceived in the way,” that said. “We were trying to to fill a management gap, favor we were trying to it is in responsive. Us were doing the best that we have the right to with what we had.”


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Minneapolis board of directors member claims he ‘got got’ at ‘defund police’ rally

by Deena Winter, Minnesota Reformer October 8, 2021

Minneapolis City council Member Phillipe Cunningham said during a current candidate forum the he had actually no idea there to be a big sign ~ above the prior of the phase that claimed “DEFUND POLICE” when he went onstage at a Powderhorn Park rally with eight the his council colleagues.

It to be 13 work after George Floyd’s death at the hands of police, and the the supervisory board members made global news with their vow come “begin the process of ending” the police department in prior of thousands of human being in the park.

Propped increase in prior of the stage — hosted together through chicken wire and taped come the stage — were hard-to-miss large, white block letters spelling out “DEFUND POLICE.” 

But Cunningham freshly said during a gyeongju Justice Network candidate forum that he go not view the “defund police” sign prior to walking on the stage, and also said he had actually made it clean to the rally organizer, black Visions, the he would not pledge come defund the police. 

“Would i stand top top the phase now and agree to dismantle? i wouldn’t use that language, no, however I… still agree the a system reorganization is a typical sense next step,” he stated on the online candidate forum ~ above Zoom. “We said we would not it is in a part of miscellaneous that states ‘defund the police,’ and also then they put ‘defund police’ ~ above the prior of the stage.”

Council Members Alondra Cano and also Andrea Jenkins were additionally onstage that day, however have because largely sided through the market on policing issues. 

If he might do it end again, Cunningham claimed he would certainly have also done “a 360” approximately the stage and also probably i found it the sign, he said. 

“I’m in my first term, i don’t have world — employee — who advancement me and also do a 360 approximately stages,” that said. “I gone into through the back of the stage and I exited with the ago of the stage; ns did not recognize it claimed ‘defund police’ ~ above the prior of the phase until I experienced the photo in the brand-new York Times.”

He and also other council members have said black color Visions initially wanted the the supervisory board members come pledge to cut the police department by $45 million, and they refused.

During the candidate forum, racial Justice Network founder Nekima raise Armstrong asked Cunningham if he later on told his constituents he didn’t know what he was signing increase for when he agreed to be a component of the rally. 

“No,” that replied. “This is a component that’s no fair. I’m human, and so i was embarrassed due to the fact that I didn’t know that the was ~ above the former of the stage. Like, friend know, I obtained got. And also now people are saying I’ve talked about defunding the police. I’ve literally never ever said that. Ns have always responded through ‘We need to reimagine publicly safety.’ Defund is no the right means to talk about it. But now it’s grounding on mine forehead due to the fact that I got got by organizations.”

Video that the rally mirrors Cunningham walk from the next of the phase to procedures in front, just to the side of the sign. He talked onstage about the possibility to dismantle police and also rebuild public safety and security with a public wellness approach.

“All the money has actually been going right into the police department, and also what have actually we gotten in return? Pain, trauma, and hurts. That is time for us to acquire behind community and get behind the tactics that we recognize work, and you have a bulk of the city council right here today, all set to ago that up,” he stated onstage the day. 

Black Visions, i m sorry led the press for the Powderhorn Park pledge, did not immediately respond to a inquiry for comment, but Kandace Montgomery, co-director of black Visions, has actually said the council members were making a appointment to start the procedure of defunding police.

In an interview, Cunningham claimed he stands by every little thing he stated that day onstage, and since — the the police department need to be dismantled and also rebuilt.

“I thought it was poor messaging,” to say “defund the police,” that said.

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He stated he was “mortified” once he saw the picture of the the supervisory board members. He said it’s “ludicrous” that people have such a fixation on that moment onstage.

“So, I have tried to be much more transparent about it and also be open around it, but I mean, I’m a human, and also it’s ashamed to have been rather frankly trick in the way,” he said. “We to be trying to to fill a management gap, favor we were trying to be responsive. We were law the best that we deserve to with what us had.”

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