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Minneapolis city council members push new anti-police plan to cut budget, officer count amid violent crime
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Minneapolis city council members push new anti-police plan to cut budget, officer count amid violent crime

'We can and must do better'

Multiple members of the Democrat-controlled Minneapolis City Council are proposing new anti-police measures despite the violent crime that has plagued the city this year.

What's the background?

Following the tragic death of George Floyd, the Minneapolis City Council — which does not have a single Republican member — promised to abolish the Minneapolis Police Department, replacing traditional law enforcement with an alternative, community-based solution.

However, their bravado quickly waned after anti-police rhetoric triggered an exodus of police officers, resulting in record violent crime.

Later, as city residents became increasingly angered by the crime and inaction by city officials, the city council had the audacity to question, "Where are the police?" Some members of the council even recanted their "abolish the police" promises when they learned that inflammatory rhetoric does not translate to functional public policy.

What are the new proposals?

Three members of the city council — Steve Fletcher, Phillipe Cunningham, and council President Lisa Bender — released a plan last Friday, which they have dubbed "Safety for All," proposing additional cuts to the Minneapolis Police Department and cementing a reduction in the city's sworn law enforcement force.

According to KARE-TV, the Democrats want to use savings from the reduced law enforcement expenditures "to reinvest funding into mental health crisis response and violence prevention methods."

In total, the council members propose cutting nearly $8 million from the police budget and shrinking the police force by 15%.

More from KARE:

Some of the proposed measures include: establishing a new 911 Mental Health Crisis Response for non-threatening calls, bolstering the city's "311" capacity for crimes such as theft and property damage, transferring Minneapolis Police employees to the Office of Violence Prevention or Neighborhood and Community Relations, and adding money to the Office of Police Conduct Review.

"Minneapolis residents have made a clear call for change," the council members said. "Over-relying on armed law enforcement has over-exposed our city to potential harms and not led to safety for all in our city. We can and must do better."

What did the mayor say?

Minneapolis Democratic Mayor Jacob Frey criticized the "Safety for All" plan.

In a statement, spokesman Mychal Vlatkovich said the mayor does not favor making deep, permanent cuts to law enforcement.

"Mayor Frey has laid the groundwork in his budget proposal for new, alternative responses to low level offenses like theft reports and parking problems," Vlatkovich said. "However, the mayor would have significant concerns if his council colleagues attempted to make such large, permanent cuts to the number of officers in the department without sound data or community input to support such a decision."

Meanwhile, Frey has introduced his own plan. According to KARE, Frey's budget proposal for the upcoming year recommends 888 "authorized" police officers, but just 770 sworn officers. And, amid budget cuts across the city, Frey also recommended stripping $12.5 million from the city police department in a one-time cut.

Anything else?

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) took to social media to defend the new proposal on Monday.

"Don't fall for the fear-driven narratives. We can craft a justice system that prioritizes people's basic needs like mental health + violence prevention, & allow the city to put public safety first," Omar said.

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