Minneapolis City Council Complains About Lack of Policing After Voting to Eliminate Police Department

Minneapolis City Council Complains About Lack of Policing After Voting to Eliminate Police Department

Just three months after voting to dismantle its police department, the Minneapolis City Council complained about the city’s insufficient policing at a meeting on Tuesday.

According to the council members—who in June unanimously passed a measure that would disband the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a “department of community safety and violence prevention”—Minneapolis residents are witnessing an increase in homicides, assaults, carjackings, and other violent crimes.

Councilman Jamal Osman said police are leaving 911 calls from his constituents unanswered amid a violent crime spike in the city.

“Residents are asking, ‘Where are the police?'” Osman said.

In a step toward dismantling the city’s police department, the city council voted in July to cut $1.5 million in funding from the department. Minneapolis’s community policing team said the cut ended an officer recruitment program that focused on hiring more people of color.

Violent crimes are on the rise this year in Minneapolis, according to police department data. More people have been murdered already in 2020 than all of 2019, and arsons have increased by 55 percent this year. At the same time, police officers are leaving the force at twice the normal rate this year.

The move to dismantle the city’s police department faces some hurdles within city government before it reaches voters at the ballot box in November.

Discussions over reforming, defunding, and even dismantling police departments began after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in late May. The Portland City Council cut $15 million in funds from its police department in June. Last month, Carmen Best, Seattle’s first black police chief, resigned after the Seattle City Council voted to defund her police department.

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