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Following the tragic death of George Floyd, Minneapolis became the home of the defund the police movement, and even contemplated abolishing the police. However, the government of Minneapolis has completely reversed course after a near-record crime wave has hit the city. Now the city is voting to fund the police.
Nearly two weeks after the death George Floyd, nine of the veto-proof council’s 13 members began the process of dismantling the Minneapolis Police Department.
“We are here today to begin the process of ending the Minneapolis Police Department and creating a new, transformative model for cultivating safety in Minneapolis,” the City Council declared in June 2020.
Days later, the City Council passed a resolution “declaring the intent to create a transformative new model for cultivating safety” for the police department.
By September 2020, violent crimes spiked, as did property crimes – even arson was up 55% compared to the same time in 2019. At the same time, more than 100 police officers left the department in the first nine months of 2020.
By November 2020, violent carjackings skyrocketed by 537% compared to the previous year.
In February 2021, the Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously to approve $6.4 million in additional funding that the police department had requested after the crime rate continued to swell.
By May 2021, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (D) – previously a proponent of defunding the police – admitted that limiting law enforcement led to a spike in violent crime.
“It’s just the reality of the solution, you know,” Mayor Frey conceded. “When you make big, overarching statements that we’re going to defund or abolish and dismantle the police department and get rid of all the officers, there’s an impact to that. We need accountability and culture shift within our department, and we need police.”
“It’s going to take a very comprehensive effort,” Frey added. “Yes, it includes safety beyond policing, and it includes police. And, you know, I’m one that has been working lock step with our Chief Arradondo, and I’m calling on the council members to try to work with him as well.”
Because crime continued to swell, a Hennepin County District Court judge ordered in July 2021 that the Minneapolis City Council and Mayor Jacob Frey to “immediately take any and all necessary action to ensure that they fund a police force.”
As of Thursday, Minneapolis had recorded its 91st homicide, according to Minneapolis Police Department data. The previous record for homicides in the city is 96, set in 1995.
Now, Minneapolis has done a complete 180 regarding defunding the police.
“Mayor Jacob Frey and the City Council last week agreed to a $1.6 billion budget that includes just over $191 million for the Police Department (MPD), restoring its funding to nearly the level it held before George Floyd was killed in 2020,” the Star Tribune reported on Saturday.
The outlet noted that the “urgency faded as crime surged and the ‘defund police’ message became a political liability.”
Council Member Phillipe Cunningham – who lost his re-election bid this fall – said, “There wasn’t more of that type of action because there wasn’t the political will, really, to do so.”
Steve Cramer – president of the Downtown Council – added, “This vote is a first step on a long road back from the division over public safety that has characterized the past 18 tumultuous months in Minneapolis.”
Other cities have had major regrets in originally supporting the defund the police movement, such as Portland and Los Angeles – which voted to increase police spending by $36 million.