Minneapolis restores police budget after ‘defund’ cuts
The Minneapolis Police Department budget is seeing an increase of millions of dollars, reversing major cuts in the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody last year.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and the city council have agreed to a $1.6 billion budget, which includes $191 million for the city’s police – an increase of more than $20 million for the year of 2022. This will bring the budget nearly back to what it was before the city made budget cuts, with some city officials arguing for the money to go into alternative programs to combat crime.
The mayor has said the additional funding will go into recruitment programs to fill staffing shortages, and fund additional training and programs. Nearly 300 police officers have left their jobs in Minneapolis, according to the mayor, as the city has become the center of ‘defund the police’ debates.
One of the council members to push for reallocating millions in police funding, Phillipe Cunningham, told the Star Tribune that the ‘defund the police’ movement did not lead to much actual action in the end because “there wasn’t the political will, really, to do so.”
Council member Lisa Bender blasted the new budget, claiming it sends “a heartbreaking political message that nothing has changed in Minneapolis since the murder of George Floyd,” according to Fox.
In the wake of Floyd’s death in May 2020, for which former officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murder, progressive council members proposed a budget that took millions from police funding and put it into other community programs. After bitter fights at council meetings, a $164 million budget was eventually agreed, with an additional $16 million from a reserve fund.
In November, voters also rejected a proposal to replace the city’s police department with a public safety agency.
Four council members voted against the latest spending plan, including Cunningham and Bender, echoing past concerns about the city’s police department practices and budget increases that could go to other programs.