Three years after the Third Precinct burned down in the civil unrest following the murder of George Floyd, the City Council passed a motion at its July 20 meeting that precludes the Minneapolis Police Department from operating out of any future buildings at 3000 Minnehaha Avenue. The vote was 12-1, with Council Vice President and Ward 13 Councilmember Linea Palmisano casting the sole nay vote. 

At the meeting, Palmisano cited the City of Minneapolis Third Precinct Community Engagement Report where Palmisano cited five of the six curated demographic group conversations calling for an increase in public safety services in the area. 

From the Latino conversation section of the report, “Most people in the Latino curated conversation wanted to see a rapid return of a police presence to the 3rd Precinct with close proximity to the Latino businesses experiencing high volumes of crime on the Lake Street corridor.” 

Conversation summaries also included issues with police presence.  For example, “Most of the participants in the Asian American curated conversation want police presence but also want police to help and not hurt the community,” the report reads. In the East African community, participants said “there are not enough police in the community and the crime rate is very high. They feel that the police do not see them as a priority and rarely respond to calls.” 

Palmisano said that the motion to permanently eliminate Minneapolis Police Department’s presence from the Third Precinct building “seems to really fly directly in the face of this report and not compliment this report or where we are at in the process right now.” Palmisano’s ward is in the MPD's Fifth District. 

The report includes community engagement survey results that show, out of the respondents who selected a location, 66% of respondents selected the current site at 3000 Minnehaha Avenue to build the Third Precinct. An additional site at 2600 Minnehaha Avenue was selected by 34% of the respondents.

Survey results from the City of Minneapolis Third Precinct Community Engagement Report, page 24
Survey results from the City of Minneapolis Third Precinct Community Engagement Report, page 29

During her City Council meeting remarks, Palmisano noted the report came out two days prior, which didn’t give her enough time to take in the findings. 

“I want to sink into this report more,” Palmisano said. 

Palmisano also expressed concern over voting on the permanency of the motion. “When we talk about the future I mean taking the really long view,” Palmisano said. 

In a follow-up email with Southwest Voices, Palimisano expanded on what she’d like to see at the 3000 Minnehaha Ave. space that reflects what the community is asking for. 

“There is enormous potential for that site to be used as a comprehensive community center including all sorts of services that the community desperately needs. I do not believe that forever banning police to operate at that site serves the community and honors what residents are directly telling us,” Palmisano wrote.  

At the July 20 meeting, other councilmembers shared why they were voting in support of Ward 9 Councilmember Jason Chavez’s motion to not house police services at 3000 Minnehaha Ave. in the future. Chavez’s ward is in the MPD's Third District. 

“Chavez’s position is the correct position,” Ward 7 Councilmember Lisa Goodman said.  “Ultimately, we need to have a different way of thinking about precincts in this city, overall. The First Precinct is the first step in that direction.” Goodman’s reference to the First Precinct is a reference to a legislative directive, which passed unanimously on July 20, to explore housing the Third Precinct with the First Precinct. Goodman’s ward is in the MPD's Fifth District. 

Goodman said it was “simply embarrassing” to think of people taking the light rail from the airport to downtown and seeing the chain-linked fence and Third Precinct building in its current state. Goodman said it was “a failure” for the building to be in that condition after three years. 

“It’s time for us to move on,” Goodman said. 

Ward 11 Councilmember Emily Koski echoed the need to move on as a reason she was voting in favor of Chavez’s motion. 

“We need to move forward,” Koski said. “We have been elected to make decisions and the community has asked us to do that. ”Koski’s ward is mostly in the MPD's Third District.

Koski also said there needs to be law enforcement in the Third Precinct, something that Council President and Ward 8 Councilmember Andrea Jenkins also talked about at the meeting. Jenkins said she hears from her residents that they want law enforcement back at the Third Precinct building. 

“However I agree with all the statements my colleagues have made today about the fact that it would be unwise for us to return to the Third Precinct with the same circumstances as before,” Jenkins said. Jenkins' ward is mostly in MPD’s Third District. 

At the July 20 meeting, the City Council also passed a resolution honoring and recognizing Black Girl Magic in the City of Minneapolis