Minneapolis City Council members, who recently voted to defund the police department, demanded answers from the city’s police chief for the recent uptick in crime.
“What I am sort of flabbergasted by right now is colleagues, who a very short time ago were calling for abolition, are now suggesting we should be putting more resources and funding into MPD,” Councilmember Phillipe Cunningham, who supported defunding the department, said during a police reform meeting Tuesday.
The council took more than $1 million from the police budget this summer to hire “violence interrupters,” who are supposed to defuse potentially violent situations instead of police officers. The impetus for the policy came in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death during his arrest by Minneapolis police officers on May 25, sparking protests all over the country.
In June, the council voted unanimously to dismantle the police department in favor of a “Department of Community Safety.” That plan was delayed in August when the Minneapolis Charter Commission voted to take more time to review the plan.
According to Minneapolis Police Department crime data, violent crimes such as assaults, robberies, and homicides are up in 2020. In August, the city passed the grim milestone of seeing more homicides in 2020 than in all of 2019. Arsons are also up 55%. (Read more from “Minneapolis City Council, Which Voted to Dismantle Police, Unsettled by Rise of Crime and Demand Action From Law Enforcement” HERE)