Minneapolis Democrats Slash $8 Million from Police Funding Amid Violent Crime Surge
Democratic city council passes new budget with major cuts to MPD
The Democrat-run Minneapolis City Council has slashed a staggering $8 million from its police department's funding, despite a major violent crime surge in the Minnesota city.
Leftist council members have been pushing to defund the police in Minneapolis since the death of George Floyd earlier this year, who died while in the custody of the MPD.
On Thursday morning, the city council passed a budget that will cut millions from its police funding and, instead, spend the taxpayer money on mental health and violence prevention programs.
The Marxist-style plan for defunding the police has been called "Safety for All."
The move follows the city council's radical attempts to completely dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department earlier this year.
"The City Council adopted a 2021 budget!!" Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender gushed on Twitter early Thursday.
"All the #SafetyForAllBudget proposals passed for 2021.
"Mental health, violence prevention, oversight and more."
The City Council adopted a 2021 budget!!— Lisa Bender (@lisabendermpls) December 10, 2020
All the #SafetyForAllBudget proposals passed for 2021. Mental health, violence prevention, oversight and more.
The budget makes important investments in affordable housing, health and economic recovery.
Thanks to all who got involved!
Added Steve Fletcher, who represents Ward 3 in Minneapolis, 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," Fletcher continued.
"It’s a big win and an important first step toward a transformed system of public safety."
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. Congrats, especially, to co-authors @MplsWard4 and @MplsWard10.— Steve Fletcher - Minneapolis Ward 3 (@MplsWard3) December 10, 2020
The Minneapolis Police Department's overall budget is $179 million, which means the $8 million cuts represent only a fraction of the department's overall budget.
But Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis President Bob Kroll told Fox News that the city council's actions will still seriously harm the police department and public safety.
"The City Council is decimating the police department," Kroll said.
"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."
The council also made a last-minute change to the plan that avoided making any cuts to the number of officers in the city after Mayor Jacob Frey threatened to veto the budget.
The current cap on the number of officers in the city will therefore remain at 888 rather than the 750 the council initially included.
The council earlier this year coalesced behind a plan to completely dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with unarmed professionals that would respond in circumstances that normally involve the police, like mental health calls and domestic disputes.
The city's charter commission, however, opted not to put that issue to voters in a referendum, effectively pushing it off until at least 2021.
Jeremiah Ellison, a Minneapolis City Council member and the son of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, at the time said that he was still committed to eventually dismantling the police department.
"This is NOT the last chance we will have to dramatically rethink public safety in our city," he said.
"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."
Meanwhile, Minneapolis is dealing with a drastic spike in violent crime.
According to police data, more than 500 people have been shot in Minneapolis this year – twice as many as 2019.
Murders are up more than 50 percent.
There have also been nearly 5,000 violent crimes, the highest level in the past five years.
And though the widespread riots may have subsided temporarily, there is the potential for more unrest in the new year.
The four officers who are facing charges in Floyd's death will stand trial starting March 8.
The cuts to the Minneapolis Police Department come amid a widespread debate over whether significant cuts to police funding are effective policy or politics for Democrats.
While Democrats embraced the "Defund the Police" movement in the run-up to the 2020 election, advocates of abolishing law enforcement are warning the broader Democratic Party that they are "not going away."
"What we’ve heard so far from the Democratic Party is what they’re not going to do," defund advocate Andrea Ritchie told Mother Jones.
"I don’t expect they will be supportive of the main demand from the streets ...
"It's gonna be a fight. We're not going away."