Minneapolis cuts police budgets by $8M in the wake of a crime surge after summer riots

The Minneapolis City Council, the city where George Floyd died earlier this year while in custody of his police department, passed a budget Thursday morning that would slash its police spending by $8 million and use it for mental health and violence reduction services, according to Fox News.

The proposal for shifting police budgets, dubbed “Safety for All,” follows a stalled effort by the City Council to fully dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department earlier this year. Minneapolis is where mass demonstrations against racism and police brutality—which often transformed into riots—began before spreading across the nation.

“The City Council adopted a 2021 budget!!” Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender tweeted early Thursday. “All the #SafetyForAllBudget proposals passed for 2021. Mental health, violence prevention, oversight and more.”

Added Steve Fletcher, who represents Ward 3 in Minneapolis: “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.”

The Minneapolis Police Department’s total budget is $179 million, which means the $8 million cuts constitute just a portion of the Department’s overall budget.

The Council also made a last-minute amendment to the proposal that prevented any decrease in the number of officers in the city after Mayor Jacob Frey threatened to veto the budget. As a result, the new limit on the number of officers in the city will remain at 888 rather than the 750 originally included by the council.

Earlier this year the council joined forces behind a proposal to fully dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with unarmed specialists that will respond to situations that usually involve the police, such as mental health calls and domestic disputes.

The City Charter Board, however, chose not to bring the issue before the voters in a referendum, essentially moving it down to at least 2021. Jeremiah Ellison, a member of the Minneapolis City Council and son of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, said 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.”

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