Police brutality: Minneapolis to dismantle police department

After the killing of African American George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis, the City Council has decided to dismantle the city's police department on the grounds that it can no longer be reformed. The city now wants to create a "new model of public security". The decision meets with much interest in Europe's press.

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Mérce (HU) /

Society as a battlefield

Police in the US are carrying the burden of growing social inequality, the online portal Mérce comments:

“What we're seeing today is the culmination of a long process dating back to the war on drugs in the United States. This led to the militarisation of the police and the prison industry, and to mass detentions. And it's part of a broader global trend: with the spread of neoliberalism and the dismantling of social networks, more and more people are becoming part of the lower, unproductive social classes. The repressive surveillance of these social classes increasingly became the task of the law enforcement agencies. ... The militarised police were forced to see society as a battlefield where ever larger swathes of the population were potential enemies.”

Polityka (PL) /

The problem is deeply engrained

The problem goes deeper than the attitude of the police in Minneapolis, Polityka points out:

“Racist behaviour on the part of the police is an institutional problem and reflects the fact that the United States has still not overcome the unconscious social racism that is deeply engrained in the white population. Surveys fail to reflect this fact because people know that racism is no longer cool nowadays. ... You see subconscious, social racism when black people are asked for ID when they pay with a credit card, you see it in the behaviour of security officers when African Americans are around, and you see it in the lack of respect or interest when a black person needs help.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Police are still needed

US police forces need urgent reforms, Neue Zürcher Zeitung believes:

“It would be foolish to start calling for the police to be abolished. Such ideas can only occur to people who feel safer than average. Fantasising about 'premodern conflict resolution' such as councils of elders is a nice way to pass the time, but what good will that do for a woman facing domestic violence, for example, if she can't call 911 or hope someone can intervene in time? ... The police are still needed, and those who need their help most know it best. But that doesn't mean police forces should just stay the way they are now either.”

Radio Kommersant FM (RU) /

Change comes with police's genuflection

Radio Kommersant FM explains what many US police officers are doing right these days:

“In effect, the police are now wedged between politicians who are whipping up sentiment in the run-up to the elections and angry citizens. What's important, however, is that rather than just kneeling, they're kneeling on one leg. In recent years this gesture has become an anti-racist symbol. Now police officers have also adopted it. The result is impressive. The protests are far from over, but the behavior of the participants is visibly changing. ... One shouldn't laugh at or feel sorry for the US police. Far from humbling themselves, they're facing up to their task and 'provoking' the protesters to cooperate peacefully.”