The Minneapolis City Council voted on Wednesday to shift $8 million from the city’s police budget after failing to dismantle the police department as they vowed to do after the police killing of George Floyd, The Washington Post reports.
The council unanimously voted to move $8 million from the police budget to social services.
The council dropped its effort to cut about 130 officers from the force after Mayor Jacob Frey threatened to veto the bill.
Frey praised the council for removing the language after accusing them of “irresponsible” cuts.
“Believe me, this is not an easy vote to take, but I believe it is right,” said Council Member Andrea Jenkins.
The vote came after six months of debate and rising crime rates in the city after Floyd’s death.
The city council had vowed to abolish the city’s police department entirely over the summer.
Lawmakers backed off vow to dismantle police:
Some council members backed off their vow in recent months.
“If we’re considering taking everything out of MPD that’s not an officer with a gun, I don’t believe in that,” Council Member Alondra Cano said Monday.
The bill ultimately cut $5 million from the police overtime budget, a move strongly opposed by Police Chief Medaria Arradondo,
The council dropped a measure that would have prevented the department from replacing more than 100 cops who have left the force or went on long-term medical leave after the protests.
“It’s not possible to magically recruit more officers,” said Council Member Steve Fletcher. “Open positions do not solve crimes. Open positions do not write tickets. Open positions do not prevent anything. They do not deter anything. They do not create a sense of safety.”
Vote comes amid rising crime rates:
The vote came amid rising crime rates that have plagued Minneapolis and other major cities amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Homicides are up more than 50% in Minneapolis and nearly 530 people have been shot, the highest number in a decade and twice as many as last year.
The city has also seen more than 4,600 violent crimes, the highest in five years.
But many residents criticized the council for backing off their vow.
“The actions of the MPD after George Floyd just showed to me how the MPD is irredeemable,” one resident said at a council meeting. “They don’t care about us. They all live in the suburbs, and they don’t prevent any crime. All they do is escalate the situation.”