The murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) officers in 2020 was a watershed moment, triggering protests across the country and unprecedented promises by city leaders to “end” the MPD. We use interviews and archival materials to understand the roots of this decision, tracing the emergent split between activists fighting for police reform and police abolition in the wake of the initial Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests in Minneapolis. We compare the frames used by these two sets of movement actors, arguing that abolitionists deployed more radical frames to disrupt hegemonic understandings of policing, while other activists fought to resonate with the existing discursive structure. After years of police reform, Floyd’s death and the rebellion that followed gave abolitionist discourses more resonance. In the discussion, we consider the future of public safety in Minneapolis and its implications for understanding frame resonance in Black movements.
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