The Minneapolis City Council voted to redirect $8 million from the police budget.
Mayor Jacob Frey said the vote was a defining moment for the city, per the Associated Press. In his statement, he added, “We all share a deep and abiding reverence for the role our local government plays in service of the people of our city.” He also said, “And today, there are good reasons to be optimistic about the future in Minneapolis.”
This is the first budget that has been approved since the death of George Floyd in May, per CNN. Captured on camera, the violent incident involved four cops including one who was fired from the force and charged with second-degree manslaughter and second-degree unintentional murder, Derek Chauvin. Chauvin who is white kneeled on Floyd for more than eight minutes prior to his death.
Following the incident, Minneapolis activists and organizers throughout the U.S. protested against police brutality for months. A trial date has been set for all four ex-cops.
The city’s nearly $8 million budget which is a portion of a $179 million police budget included “Safety For All” amendments that will redirect funds to violence prevention programs, mental health programs, and other initiatives. The newly announced plan will also increase capacity within the Civil Rights Departments Office of Police Conduct Review. Additionally, it will redirect some non-emergency calls to other departments.
Before the decision was voted on, the council heard from hundreds of residents who were in favor and opposed to the budget changes. Some who spoke claimed police were harassing their neighborhoods, others alleged the city would be unsafe without cops.
Council President Lisa Bender shared her thoughts on the budget news, “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.”
On Monday, Frey threatened to veto the budget if the council decided to act upon their plan to cap police staffing. On Wednesday, the council voted to keep the cap at 888.
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