The Minneapolis Charter Commission blocked a proposal Wednesday that would have given voters in November a chance to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department. Members of the commission who voted to keep the proposal off the ballot believe the process was being rushed in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

“We have an obligation to make sure that what is going on the ballot gives the voters an informed choice, that they can make a decision in a thoughtful way,” Charter Commissioner Andrew Kozak said.

With a 10-5 vote, the commission put the proposed amendment on hold for another 90 days. November’s election is 89 days away.

The proposal could potentially be put in front of Minneapolis voters next year.

“It is not our legacy to use bureaucratic processes to circumvent the people in an attempt to 'protect' voters from themselves,” Councilmember Jeremiah Ellison said in a statement. “That is not democracy. In a democracy, the people decide. But I guess today the Charter Commission decided otherwise.”

The Minneapolis City Council voted on June 7 to defund and dismantle the city's police department. The council did so two weeks after Floyd was killed by police officer Derek Chavin, who pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.

A plan devised by the city council would replace the police department with a Department of Community Safety & Violence Prevention that would prioritize “a holistic, public health-oriented approach.” The Minneapolis Charter currently requires the city to keep a police department with a minimum force based on its population. 

Armed police officers would be allowed under the proposal, though they would report to a new director.

Minnesota State Police officers in front of an armored sheriff's vehicle on May 31, 2020 in Minneapolis, during a protest against police brutality after the killing of George Floyd days earlier Minnesota State Police officers in front of an armored sheriff's vehicle on May 31, 2020 in Minneapolis, during a protest against police brutality after the killing of George Floyd days earlier Photo: AFP / CHANDAN KHANNA