The Field: Policing and Power in Minneapolis


This episode contains strong language.

In June, weeks after George Floyd was killed by the police, a veto-proof majority of the Minneapolis City Council expressed support for dismantling the city’s police department.

The councilors’ pledges to “abolish,” “dismantle” and “end policing as we know it” changed the local and national conversation about the police.

President Trump has wielded this decision and law-and-order arguments in his campaigning — Midwestern states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota may be decisive in the general election.

He has claimed that Joseph R. Biden Jr. wants to defund the police — which he does not — and told voters that they would not be safe in “Biden’s America.”

On the ground in Minneapolis, Astead Herndon, a national politics reporter, speaks to activists, residents and local politicians about the complexities of trying to overhaul the city’s police.

Guest: Astead W. Herndon, a national politics reporter for The New York Times, speaks to Black Visions Collective co-director, Miski Noor; Jordan Area Community Council executive director, Cathy Spann; and Minneapolis City Council president, Lisa Bender.

For more information on today’s episode, visit

Background reading:

  • Across America there have been calls from some activists and elected officials to defund, downsize or abolish police departments. What would efforts to defund or disband the police really mean?
  • In the wake of George Floyd’s killing, some cities asked if the police are being asked to do jobs they were never intended to do. Budgets are being re-evaluated.

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