Minneapolis City Council approves extra police funding amid crime surge, after defunding department

The city council had said they would defund and dismantle the police department over the summer.

Published: November 13, 2020 1:31pm

Updated: November 16, 2020 5:13pm

The Minneapolis City Council voted Friday to approve an additional $496,800 for the city's police department to help with the recent crime surge, which has grown after the city took away nearly $1 million over the summer during the "defund the police" wave. 

After the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody sparked weeks of riots, the City Council cut police funding and reallocate it to "violence interpreters" through the health department. The council also voted to dismantle the department and replace it with a community-based public-safety system.

Several months later, Police Chief Medaria Arradondo has said violent crime is up more than 20% compared to last year and 40% compared to two years ago. The police department is prepared to undergo a proposed budget cut of about $12 million and many officers are retiring or leaving the city's department.

“Our resources are hemorrhaging,” Arradondo said to members of the city council during a committee meeting Tuesday. “Our city is bleeding at this moment. I'm trying to do all I can to stop that bleeding and I'm hoping that having the funds to launch a citywide joint enforcement team initiative we can try to stop the bleeding in our city."

The vote Friday passed 7-6 vote, which will allow for the allocation of the $496,800 to cover the cost of creating a Joint Enforcement Team pulling in officers from the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and Metro Transit Police to temporarily assist Minnesota police with violent crimes through the end of the year. 

“Today we sent a clear signal that we will support Chief Arradondo and that we are ready to work collaboratively with our law enforcement partners and neighboring jurisdictions while continuing to implement concrete, transformative public safety measures," Mayor Jacob Frey said about the decision. 

The decision comes just before budget committee meetings that will start Monday. 

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