Minneapolis police union head blasts city council, says officers 'cannot keep the public safe with these cuts'
Police cuts OK’d as Minneapolis City Council approves budget plan
The $8 million redirection of funds comes at a time when crime rates are soaring; reaction from retired Minneapolis officer Mylan Masson.
Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis President Bob Kroll on Thursday morning criticized a decision by the Minneapolis City Council to move $8 million from the city's police force to mental health and violence prevention programs as part of the latest city budget.
The cut comes as Minneapolis, like many other major American cities, is dealing with a spike in violence. It also comes months after the death of George Floyd, a Black man, who died while in Minneapolis police custody. Floyd's death triggered protests against racism and police brutality that spread nationwide. In many cases, especially after dark, the protests turned into violent riots and looting.
"The City Council is decimating the police department," Kroll told Fox News. "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."
George Floyd Memorial Site, Minneapolis
(Hollie McKay/Fox News)
Members of the Minneapolis City Council, however, lauded the policing plan that passed early Thursday morning as part of the city's 2021 budget. The plan is called "Safety for All."
"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."
SIX MONTHS AFTER GEORGE FLOYD'S DEATH, MINNEAPOLIS REELING FROM RISE IN VIOLENCE
The city council removed a provision that would have cut the authorized number of police officers in the city from 888 to 750 after a veto threat by Mayor Jacob Frey. The $8 million cut represents just a fraction of the police department's $179 million budget.
But the city is seeing rising violence that its police department in its current state is struggling to hold in check. And Frey plans to increase the number of officers from its current 770 to the cap of 888 after 2021.
The passage of the "Safety for All" plan in the city's budget follows the city council's stalled attempt to completely dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department earlier this year.
Members of the city council backed a plan to completely dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with unarmed professionals who would respond in situations where police officers are normally called. But the city's charter commission opted not to put the issue to voters in the 2020 election, pushing the issue off to at least 2021.
Nevertheless, some council members said they remained committed to eventually dismantling the department.
"This is NOT the last chance we will have to dramatically rethink public safety in our city," Councilmember Jeremiah Ellison, the son of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, said at the time. "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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