The Minneapolis City Council passed a budget Thursday morning that will cut its police funding by $8 million and use the money for mental health and violence prevention programs.
The plan for the shifting of police funding, called “Safety for All,” follows the city council’s stalled attempt to completely dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department earlier this year.
Minneapolis experienced widespread protests against racism and police brutality — which often turned into violent riots — that were sparked after George Floyd’s death.
“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.”
The City Council adopted a 2021 budget!!
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!
— Lisa Bender (@lisabendermpls) December 10, 2020
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.”
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.”
We're thrilled that the Minneapolis City Council has passed the #SafetyForAll Budget, moving nearly $8 million from traditional policing to alternatives like mental health responders and violence prevention services.
This is a crucial first step towards safety for everyone.
— ACLU of Minnesota (@ACLUMN) December 10, 2020
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%. 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. Joe Biden was even opposed to the police defunding movement within his own party during the presidential election.