Updated: April 30, 2021 06:15 PM
Created: April 30, 2021 03:38 PM
Students at the University of Minnesota are demanding changes to policing on campus.
On Friday, organizers from the group Students For a Democratic Society held a rally on U of M President Joan Gabel's home lawn.
"We're here and we're going to continue to fight until we get our demands met," said Jalisa Sang, a freshman at the University of Minnesota.
These students are demanding Gabel take action against the U of M Police Department.
"The presence of police there just makes me feel unsafe and uneasy," Sang said.
Students have a handful of demands including the creation of a CPAC, or a Civilian Police Accountability Council, which would include students and community members.
"This would work to have governance and policing over the police," U of M senior Celia Nimz said. "We want to see this council created to ensure that police are demilitarized and are disarmed and are under the direct control of the community."
"When you start out telling people what they're going to do and demanding what they're going to do, that falls on deaf ears," said Jim Mortenson, executive director of Law Enforcement Labor Services, the union representing the U of M officers.
Mortenson says on a campus the size of a small city, this just isn't a good idea.
"They're either trying to get rid of the police department or they're trying to turn them into unarmed security guards, and it just can't go down that road," Mortenson said.
Students also want UMPD to withdraw from the West Command Task Force, a countywide policing group, and have condemned its role in the protests in Brooklyn Center.
"They sent like 12 officers there to help brutalize protesters and arrest them," Nimz said.
But Mortenson argues agencies help each other all the time.
"They're trying to rewrite a narrative here on how things operate, but in reality, they know very little about what's going on in that police department," Mortenson said.
The University of Minnesota told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS it did not want to respond to these demands.
The University just released a report from an outside expert who examined conversations of public safety and policing on campus.
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