Minneapolis City Council Unanimously Passes Defunding Police by Nearly $8 Million, Mayor Signs
Minneapolis, MN – On Thursday morning, the Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously to pass their 2021 budget that will see the police department defunded by $7.8 million. The budget was dubbed the “Safety for All” plan. This is part of the Council’s attempt to “reimagine” policing.
The Council initially set out to completely dismantle the police department, but backtracked on that agenda to be put before voters in November. Reportedly, Mayor Jacob Frey, who had previously been all in with the path to disbanding, said that the cuts the Council was proposing were “irresponsible and untenable.”
After the Council proposed a budget cutting the cap of police at MPD from 888 down to 750, Frey threatened to veto the budget altogether. Frey said, “This notion that in order to have a more comprehensive public safety strategy you have to do away with one critical element, which is police, is wrong.”
Early Thursday morning, Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender tweeted, “The City Council adopted a 2021 budget!! All the #SafetyForAllBudget proposals passed for 2021. Mental health, violence prevention, oversight and more.”
Bender was talking referring to programs that are meant to address mental health issues and attempt to prevent crime by means other than policing.
Minneapolis City Council voted to cut $8M from the police budget. 500+ people have been shot in the city this year, twice as many as 2019. Murders have spiked more than 50%, while the city has seen nearly 5000 violent crimes, the highest level in 5 yrs.https://t.co/wZzLeTEFWM
— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) December 11, 2020
Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis President Bob Kroll spoke with Fox News following the vote. He said, “The City Council is decimating the police department. The number of working officers is the lowest it’s been in 50 years. Murders, shootings, and other violent crimes are approaching record levels. Our officers are severely overworked, understaffed, and cannot keep the public safe with these cuts.”
On Twitter, City Councilmember Steve Fletcher said, “In 2021, our city will implement mental health emergency response, support community safety programs, add violence prevention capacity and improve police accountability. Thanks and congratulations to everyone who advocated for these important investments to make our city safer and more just. It’s a big win and an important first step toward a transformed system of public safety.”
But for some, this mere partial defunding is just temporary, and the plan to completely dismantle the department is still in place. Back when the Council decided not to push the full disbanding on the voting tickets in November, Councilmember Jeremiah Ellison, son of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, said he was still fully committed to ridding the city of a police department all together.
At the time, Jeremiah Ellison said, “This is NOT the last chance we will have to dramatically rethink public safety in our city. We will quickly be in 2021 budget discussions, we will continue to ramp up community engagement on the future of public safety, and we will revisit the charter change for the 2021 ballot.”
On Friday, Frey signed the budget and said in a statement, “This budget centered an approach to public safety by better integrating social services into our emergency response systems while fully preserving the targeted officer staffing levels in our Police Department.”
As LENN reported recently, violence in Minneapolis has skyrocketed in recent months, while officers have reportedly left the agency via early retirement or filing for disability in droves.
One American News Network has reported recently that business owners and residents alike are unhappy with the defunding of the department, saying they are feeling unsafe and scared of the consequences of the cuts. Other reports circulating have common sentiments such as, “Everyone is afraid,” and, “We need police. We need protection.”