Minneapolis city council passed 2021 budget funding that includes cutting $7.7 million from the city’s police department and redirecting those funds to social programs, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, CNN and CBS News.
The 2021 budget is the first one the city has passed since the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in May. Floyd’s death sparked a nationwide protest movement against police brutality.
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According to the Star Tribune, the $7.7 million in police budget cuts will be redistributed to fund mental health crisis teams, as well as train 911 dispatchers to assess mental health crisis calls. The budget cuts will also allow other employees to handle theft and property damage reports.
However, the Star Tribune notes that the budget keeps in place a plan for the department to hire more officers in future years. The council initially planned to pass a budget that would drop department staffing levels from 770 to 750 in 2022 but kept in place the department’s current staffing target of 888 to avoid a veto from Mayor Jacob Frey.
“My colleagues were right to leave the targeted staffing level unchanged from 888 and continue moving forward with our shared priorities,” Frey said in a statement. “The additional funding for new public safety solutions will also allow the City to continue upscaling important mental health, non-police response, and social service components in our emergency response system.”
The new budget comes as progressive Democrats call on local municipalities to “defund the police” and re-allocate those funds to social services. Other major cities like New York City and Albuquerque, New Mexico have removed funding from departments or shifted some emergency responsibilities away from armed police officers.
Floyd died in May when a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes as they attempted to take him into custody for using counterfeit money to buy cigarettes. Several other officers stood by as Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck as he struggled to breathe. Chauvin and three other officers face charges in connection to Floyd’s death.