As violence rages in Minneapolis, city council moves forward with plans to dismantle police (while getting taxpayer-funded security)

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN – On Friday, Minneapolis city council members took additional steps forward toward the goal of dismantling and replacing the city’s police department when they voted 12-0 in favor of an amendment to the city’s charter.
 

 
The currently available draft of the amendment removes the police department completely from the list of departments the City Council is to provide for the city, replacing the police with a department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention. 
 
This department is to “have responsibility for public safety services prioritizing a holistic, public health-oriented approach.”
 
The director of this department will have “non-law enforcement experience in community safety services, including but not limited to public health and/or restorative justice approaches.”
 
The amendment removes the position of police chief, as well as the position of fire police, who previously operated under the jurisdiction of the fire department at fire scenes.  The amendment does provide for the presence of some “licensed peace officers” who are to be directly under the supervision of Community Safety and Violence Prevention.  
 
If this amendment goes through committee, and passes review by the City Council and input by citizens and city officials, it will be placed on the city’s November ballot for a vote.

 
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, who has stood against defunding the police, raised concerns about disbanding the police department. 
While advocating for “structural change,” he asserted:
 
“It’s not clear as to whether in a year from now or in a year and a half from now we will still have a police department or division that would be able to respond to violent incidents.”
 
Barry Clegg, Chairman of the Charter Commission, also pointed out the unknowns in the potential implementation of the amendment:
 
“As I understand it, they are saying, ‘We are going to have this new department. We don’t know what it’s going to look like yet. We won’t implement this for a year, we’ll figure it out.  For myself anyway, I would prefer that we figured it out first, and then voted on it.”
 
In a quote to the Wall Street Journal, Councilwoman Alondra Cano appeared to validate Clegg’s concerns about the council’s present lack of planning when she stated:
 
“The people of Minneapolis can choose how they want to show up for each other when people need help.”
 
Although three Minneapolis City Council members enjoy taxpayer-funded private security details, to the tune of $4500 per day, Minneapolis City Council president and amendment co-sponsor Lisa Bender appears to believe that the general public should check their privilege when calling the police for assistance.
 

 
When CNN reporter Alisyn Camerota asked who she would call if her home was broken into in the middle of the night, Bender responded:
 
“Yes, I mean, I hear that loud and clear from a lot of my neighbors.  And I know, and myself too, I know that that comes from a place of privilege because for those of us for whom the system is working, I think we need to step back and imagine what it would feel like to already live in that reality, where calling the police may mean more harm is done.”
 
The general public in violence-torn areas of Minneapolis have expressed concerns and fears about potential lack of police response as work toward disbanding moves forward.
 
 
Minneapolis has one of the highest crime rates in the country, with residents facing 367 crimes per square mile and a violent crime rate of 8.15 per 1000 residents.  Minnesota as a whole has a violent crime rate of 2.2 violent crimes per 1000 residents.
 
According to the Star Tribune, Steven Belton, president and CEO of the Urban League Twin Cities, reported a “significant, dramatic uptick” in violent crime, starting June 7 when the city council declared intent to move forward with disbanding the police.  113 people have been shot in the city since the death of George Floyd.
 
Belton went on to note that violent people “have used that sound bite — ‘defund the police’ — as an indication that there is no consequence, that there is no policing, and [concluded] that they are free to do whatever they want to do.”
 
North Side resident Keion Franklin, speaking in the aftermath of a local Minneapolis shooting that wounded four people, told the Tribune:
 
“I know on one side of the city, it looks beautiful for defunding to happen, but here on this side of the city, I’m scared if you defund the police … Is it going to turn into World War III over here?”
 
It doesn’t take an expert in human behavior to ascertain that in situations of violence, the overwhelming instinct of victims and spectators is to summon law enforcement trained in approaching violent situations. 
 
One need look no further than Seattle, where residents of the anti-police CHOP area summoned police and other emergency responders to violent incidents.  One shooting victim even threatened to sue Seattle police over claims the police “abandoned” him, when in fact the barricades around CHOP prevented law enforcement response.
 
In their efforts to get rid of the police department with their new amendment, it appears that the Minneapolis city council members lack foresight and are ignoring concerns of their constituents, while suggesting that those wanting police response should check their privilege.

Report: Minneapolis council members calling to defund police spending $4,500/day of taxpayer dollars on private security details

It’s the ultimate hypocrisy. 

A new report by Fox News has revealed that a number of Minneapolis City Council members have been assigned private security details.

This, after they claim they’ve gotten ‘death threats’ after calling to defund the police.

And it’s no small bill.

Over the last three weeks, it’s reportedly cost the city some $63,000 on private security – working out to about $4,500 per day over the last three weeks.

“The names of the people getting security details are not public,” a city spokesperson told Fox News Saturday.

Despite the lack of transparency, the names of three council members who are receiving private security detail have already been made public.

On Friday, two of them were interviewed by Fox 9.

They are Andrea Jenkins (Ward 8), and Phillipe Cunningham (Ward 4), and Alondra Cano (Ward 9)– all of whom have been outspoken proponents of defunding the Minneapolis Police Department.  

The spokesperson for the city wouldn’t answer questions whether or not there were additional council members receiving security detail.

The Minneapolis City Council hasn’t exactly been quiet.  They unanimously approved a proposal to eliminate the city’s police department Friday, and they’ve begun taking steps toward establishing a new “holistic” approach to public safety.

According to the new proposal, it would eliminate the existing police department.  What would take its place?  “A department of community safety and violence prevention, which will have responsibility for public safety services prioritizing a holistic, public health-oriented approach.”

One council member in the interview told Fox 9:

“I don’t feel comfortable publicly discussing the death threats against me or the level of security I currently have protecting me from those threats.”

They told the media the security detail was temporary, but another council member said they had been worried about security since they were sworn in.

“My concern is the large number of white nationalist[s] in our city and other threatening communications I’ve been receiving,” they said.

Here’s where it gets even more interesting.

The Minneapolis Police Department told Fox 9 that the MPD does not have any records of recent threats against the three council members.

They did, however, add it was possible the record could have been filed confidentially.

“Council members have reported to staff numerous threats to themselves personally,” the city spokesperson said to Fox News Saturday.

According to one of the council members who spoke with Fox 9, they reportedly didn’t the MPD.  Why?

Because they claim they were too busy dealing with the “global pandemic and global uprising”.

They claim the threats had been wide-ranging, attacking their ethnicity, gender identity and sexuality.

The Minneapolis mayor’s office didn’t comment to the media about the alleged security threats, but a city spokesperson told Fox 9 that the police resources were needed elsewhere in the community.

The spokesperson also said that the cost of the private security detail was about the same as the cost for the taxpayer as would be MPD security services.

Reportedly, the private, taxpayer-funded security has been provided by two firms, Aegis and BelCom.  It’s allegedly an interim fix until other security solutions can be established.

“This security service was intended to be temporary and [a] bridge to other security measures implemented by council members themselves,” a city spokesperson told Fox News.

As for who approved the money?  It doesn’t need city council approval until the amount surpasses $175,000.

It’s not just Minneapolis that’s full of hypocrites.

Last week, in the latest episode of “good for thee, but not for me,” we reported that Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez was caught utilizing private LAPD police protection outside at her home while having also been the person to introduce cutting $150 million from the LAPD’s budget recently.

Martinez apparently had been using a police detail outside of her residence since April of this year, due to alleged threats being made against the city council president earlier in the year.

Martinez was caught with her hand in the cookie jar that she claims needs to be defunded, so she reportedly canceled the security detail as of June 4th.

The police detail was said to be around-the-clock from April 4th to May 6th and then decreased to 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. from that point on, often staffed by two officers.

Detective Jamie McBride, who serves as the LAPD union director, called the instance “ironic”:

“It’s kind of ironic. Here she is demanding $150 million be reallocated from the police budget, but yet she has security at her house by the Los Angeles Police Department.”

According to Detective McBride, if Martinez felt so concerned for her personal safety, she should have simply hired personal security. What makes matters all the more troublesome, from the detective’s perspective, is that this was ongoing during the height of the pandemic and LA’s budget crisis:

“It’s disgusting. For two officers in front of a residence since April, you’re probably over $100,000 of the people’s money.”

Rick Coca, who serves as the spokesman for Martinez, explained in further detail the purpose of the now-cancelled security detail:

“After death threats to the Council President and her daughter and safety concerns that began over a month ago, LAPD recommended that placing a detail at her home was the best course of action to ensure the safety of the Council President and her family.”

Coca also stated that the security detail was now cancelled since it was compromised by being discovered, which leads Detective McBride to question just how real the “threat” to Martinez and her family really was:

“They try to keep things close to the vest because they can get leaked to the media and upset the community. And if she really felt threatened, then that security should have still been in place. Obviously, there wasn’t a threat there because the units from what I understand have disappeared.”

The detective’s comments on the potential to upset the community isn’t far-fetched, as regular citizens would likely not be recipients of nearly two-months of police security stationed outside their homes.

Not exactly the best look for someone calling to “defund” the police. 

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Murdered officer's grave desecrated before headstone even placed

Here’s the original story we ran at Law Enforcement Today regarding the budget cuts proposed to the LAPD. 

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The mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, levied a challenge toward the city on June 3rd to identify budgetary cuts in the realm of $250 million to be redirected in investing into communities of color, women and “people who have been left behind.”

Apparently, up to $150 million has already been identified and is being cut from the LAPD’s budget.

These redirected funds, according to Mayor Garcetti, are “so we can invest in jobs, in health, in education and in healing.”

While the notion of jobs, healthcare, and education are fairly easy to envision how funds can be used, the “healing” portion isn’t something clearly defined as to the “what” and “how” of that mentioned endeavor.

Eileen Decker, who serves as the president of the Los Angeles Police Commission, noted that somewhere between $100 million to $150 million would be pulled directly from police department funding.

City Council President Nury Martinez had also brought up the idea of extracting funds for policing prior to Decker’s approval of the notion.

The annual budget for the LAPD, as it currently stands, is $1.86 billion.

If the entire $150 million cited is extracted from the annual LAPD budget, that would bring down the monetary resources to $1.71 billion.

It is unclear whether this would be a one-time extraction or an ongoing amendment to the budget moving forward annually.

Melina Abdullah, one of the co-founders of Black Lives Matter’s Los Angeles outfit, reportedly feels as though the budget cuts mentioned are not enough.

What also isn’t clear is what these budget cuts will be aimed at exactly within the department.

There are numerous ways that these budget cuts to policing could be enabled.

A few possible ways would be a reduction in force at various precincts, altering the cadence of equipment maintenance for the likes of cruisers, dialing back pay increases, eliminating overtime opportunities, or avoiding equipment purchases that were planned for the year.

Essentially, some forms of budgetary cuts can be more detrimental than others for a department – but any form of reduced financing is hardly ever desirable for those tasked with directing funds.

If the budget must be cut, which it seems it does, the LAPD will have to determine a manner in which the police force’s ability to serve the community isn’t terribly hindered. That task is one that any police department would not envy.

Hopefully, the LAPD can adhere to the requested slashing of the budget in a manner that creates the least amount to tangible harm to the department’s mission.

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