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A Matter of Facts: Defunding the police

By June 23, 2020September 16th, 2023No Comments

By Alicia Kubas, Malaika Grant, Katherine Nelsen, and Jenny McBurney

George Floyd, defund the police, black lives matter posters

“Defund and Dismantle the Police” by Tony Webster is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In May, George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer while in police custody. The actions of the police officer shed light on the repeated unnecessary use of force for non-violent offenses and non-emergency calls.

In the wake of weeks of protests, several Minneapolis City Council members have said they will vote to “defund” the Minneapolis Police Department. However, it can be unclear what defunding the police means and what level of reform this type of change could entail.

Does defunding the police mean completely abolishing police departments? What public safety measures would still be in place if police departments were defunded or disbanded?

The resources below provide background information on this topic in the Minneapolis area but also focus on police reform in other parts of the United States where similar calls for defunding or disbanding the police have formed. Context is very important in understanding racial relations and law enforcement, so there are also resources for exploring the intersection of race and policing.

News articles to frame the issue

Recent news articles focusing on defunding Minneapolis police

News articles about police defunding and reform in Camden, NJ

Freely available online resources

Freely available government information

U of M Libraries Resources

Journal articles

University of Minnesota research and expertise

The University of Minnesota Press has a collection of antiracist books, “Reading for Racial Justice,” freely available to read online through August 31, 2020. Specific books about the police include:

The Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) connects the resources of the University of Minnesota with the interests and needs of urban communities and the region for the benefit of all. This includes funding a project, Police Reform in the Progressive City, led by Michelle S. Phelps, faculty in the Department of Sociology (see below for more info). CURA has also helped fund research on racial profiling in Minneapolis traffic stops, which resulted in a 2009 report by Joseph Ritter, faculty in Applied Economics (see below for more info), and doctoral candidate David Bael.

Various faculty and researchers at the University of Minnesota have conducted research and published related to police reform and disbanding:

The following University of Minnesota librarians can provide research assistance on this topic

Malaika Grant — Librarian for English and American Literature, African and African American Studies, Cultural Studies, and Comparative Literature

Alicia Kubas — Librarian for Government Information

Scott Marsalis — Librarian for Social Work, Family Social Science, and Kinesiology

Jenny McBurney — Librarian for Political Science, Economics, and the Institute for Advanced Study

Kat Nelsen — Librarian for Anthropology, Sociology, American Studies, American Indian Studies, and Asian American Studies

Share your ideas

The Minneapolis City Council wants to hear input on how public safety could be transformed in Minneapolis. You do not need to be a resident of Minneapolis to submit feedback and ideas.

Mark Engebretson

Author Mark Engebretson

More posts by Mark Engebretson

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