Voting has consequences, and in Minneapolis, residents are dealing with the reality of the City Council’s June vote to completely dismantle the city’s police department and replace it with a community safety program.
The Minneapolis Police Department’s data dashboard has shown a significant rise in violent crime in the city since the vote. In September, the total violent crime rate was 55% higher than in April, the month before George Floyd’s death. The statistics have remained high throughout the summer following the death of Floyd and residents have had enough.
“We are here, together in unison, to say enough is enough,” community activist Cathy Spann said during a press conference this week. “I am here today to say it is about all of us coming together to make a difference to stop the gun violence that is in our city–downtown, south, north. We are stopping it. We are no longer asking for a plan. We are the plan.”
The City Council has already somewhat changed its stance on the initial vote of dismantling the police department. Formally defunding the police department would require a proposal to appear on the ballot in November. A charter commission in August voted 10-5 not to pass the amendment that would have removed the MPD and replaced it with a public safety department that looked to be relatively unstructured.
“We have made the emotional appeal,” former City Council member Don Samuels said during the press conference. “We have demonstrated the statistical uptick [in violence], and now, this is the legal action we are exercising because it seems as if the City Council cannot hear us and doesn’t feel what we feel.”
In the Post Millennial, it said that in September, Minneapolis registered 521 counts of violent crime, 362 counts of burglary, 1,212 counts of larceny and almost 2,000 counts of property crime, according to the Minneapolis Police Department.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has publicly opposed the City Council’s vote from the beginning, as the plan called for a $200 million cut from the police department. Frey still plans on cuts though, as the most recent budget unveiled in September includes a $14 million reduction in the MPD’s budget.