Minneapolis city council votes to cut millions from police budget

Its "Safety for All" plan doesn't affect the number of officers working in the city. In fact, Minneapolis is looking to hire more.

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The Minneapolis City Council has voted to defund its police department by $7.77 million. 

The city’s 2021 budget will redirect those funds to other programs. 

Cyclists gather for a June mass ride in protest of systemic racism in policing and the May 25th killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis Police Department officer. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)

The amendments are being called “Safety for All” and will use the funds to work toward “preventing violence and building community well-being,” according to council officials. The plan does not affect the number of officers working in the city. In fact, Minneapolis is looking to hire more. 

The resolution passed by a narrow 7-6 vote. 

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In a statement, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey wrote, “My colleagues were right to leave the targeted staffing level unchanged from 888 and continue moving forward with our shared priorities. The additional funding for new public safety solutions will also allow the City to continue upscaling important mental health, non-police response and social service components in our emergency response system.”

This is the first official police budget for the city since the May 25 killing of George Floyd, who died after four Minneapolis Police officers kneeled on his body for nearly nine minutes. Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao face a single trial, charged with murder. Floyd’s death led to global protests against police violence. 

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“The City Council has stepped up to lead, working together to respond to complex demands from a community reeling from police violence, community violence and the social unrest that followed George Floyd’s death,” said Council President Lisa Bender.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune noted that while the city is seeking to reform its public safety, it is also facing an uptick in shootings — with more than 500 this year. 

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According to the report, the council also placed $11.4 million in a specially-created reserve fund. Those monies account for nearly $6.4 million included in the mayor’s desire for two police recruit classes and nearly $5 million that could potentially offset police overtime cuts council members made. 

Before the vote, hundreds of community members spoke in front of the council, with many detailing stories of police harassment, while others were present to show their support for law enforcement. 

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