MINNEAPOLIS CITY COUNCIL STRIPS $8M FROM POLICE BUDGET

Minneapolis City Council members who voted last week to strip $8 million from the Minneapolis Police Department budget and redirect those funds to other community programs say they are not “defunding the police,” even though the vote technically defunds the police.

As was reported late last week, “the Minneapolis City Council voted to ‘shift nearly $8 million from next year’s police budget to other city services’” as part of a wider effort to “transform” law enforcement. “The controversial plan was approved unanimously as part of the city’s 2021 budget,” the Washington Post added.

The vote was the second attempt by the Minneapolis City Council to “defund” that city’s police department. The first came in early summer, shortly following George Floyd’s death while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department. At the time, City Council members backed the “defund the police” movement and even went so far as to suggest abolishing the MPD altogether.

The city council’s president claimed in an interview that protection from crime was a form of “privilege.”

That effort was met with disaster late last summer after the murder rate in Minneapolis made a startling jump and city’s Charter Commission intervened, rebuking the City Council for trying to eliminate a city services department that the city’s charter specifically provided for.

Last week, the council finally succeeded in making major cuts to the city’s police department, stripping $8 million from department funding and redirecting that money to community assistance organizations. On Wednesday, City Council members, accused of “defunding the police” in the midst of a crime wave, insisted that they were merely funding a “better system.”

“‘Defund’ is not the framework the council has ever chosen,” City Council Member Steve Fletcher told Fox News.

Fox News notes that both Fletcher and Council Member Phillipe Cunningham, who also took part in the interview, were present at a “defund the police” rally that took place over the summer, indicating that the council was considering “defunding” the department at one point.

The pair, though, now say the idea is to “dismantle” the Minneapolis Police Department—perhaps a more ambitious goal than simply “defunding” it.

“I think that it’s important to name that dismantle does not mean dismantle into nothing, it means dismantling what we currently have to build something new,” Cunningham added.

“The thing that we care about is, what’s the system we’re designing that’s better?” Fletcher said. “And yes, if we design a better system that’s going to mean investing less in traditional armed law enforcement because we’re relying less on that.”

According to Fox, the word “dismantle” was first used to describe the Council’s plan back in June. At the time, though, the word was meant to indicate that the City Council thought the department was beyond repair and that “incremental” adjustments were pointless.

“It is clear that our system of policing is not keeping our communities safe,” Lisa Bender, the council president, said, at the time, per the network. “Our efforts at incremental reform have failed, period.”

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