The Democrat-controlled Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously on Thursday to cut millions of dollars in funding from the Minneapolis Police Department’s budget next year after failing to abolish the police department altogether earlier this year following the death of George Floyd.
The Minneapolis City Council voted to “shift nearly $8 million from next year’s police budget to other city services as part of an effort to ‘transform’ public safety in the city,” The Washington Post reported. “The controversial plan was approved unanimously as part of the city’s 2021 budget.”
Democrat Mayor Jacob Frey had reportedly threatened to veto the “irresponsible” bill but backed off his threat and praised the city council “for removing language that would have permanently shrunk the size of the force by about 130 officers in what he described as a ‘defining moment for our city,'” The Post added. “Under the budget approved Thursday, the council would divert $7.7 million from law enforcement to fund alternatives to policing, including mental health crisis teams and additional staffers in the city’s office of violence prevention.”
The majority of the money that was cut from the police budget came from cutting a budget for police overtime, which the city’s police chief had “strongly discouraged,” saying that it was a “necessity.” The department is reportedly down 166 officers as many have permanently left while others are out “on long-term medical leave, many citing post-traumatic stress disorder from the civil unrest that erupted after Floyd’s death.”
An activist told The Washington Post last month that the crime in Minneapolis is the worst that they have ever seen, even worse than when the city was called “Murderapolis” during violent years in the 90s.
“If you want to talk about pandemics, we’re dealing with a pandemic of violence,” the activist said. “We’re under siege. You wake up and go to bed in fear because you don’t know what’s going to happen next. . . . And our city has failed to protect us.”
The Associated Press reported:
Police have recorded 532 gunshot victims this year as of last Thursday, more than double the same period a year ago. Carjackings have also spiked to 375 so far this year, up 331% from the same period last year. Violent crimes have topped 5,100, compared with just over 4,000 for the same period in 2019.
The Minneapolis City Council complained back in September about the rising crime rates and blamed it on the police.
The Daily Wire reported:
“Residents are asking, ‘Where are the police’?” said city council member Jamal Osman. MPR News says that Osman indicated that he has been flooded with complaints with residents that their calls for help from the police are not being answered. The report said that some city council members whose constituents live in safer areas are now feeling “terrorized.”
“That is the only public safety option they have at the moment: MPD,” Osman said. “They rely on MPD. And they are saying they are nowhere to be seen.”
City Council President Lisa Bender, who led the charge in the initial calls to defund the police department, complained that she thought the officers were being defiant.
Councilmember Phillipe Cunningham called out those on the city council who were complaining about the lack of a policing after they had called for defunding the police department, saying, “What I am sort of flabbergasted by right now is colleagues, who a very short time ago were calling for abolition, are now suggesting we should be putting more resources and funding into MPD.”
The Associated Press noted that the city council’s plan to dismantle the department failed to go anywhere when a separate city commission refused to put it on the ballot of last month’s elections. The AP added, “The city was paying $4,500 a day at one point for private security for three council members who reported getting threats after supporting defunding.”
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