The Minneapolis City Council voted to cut millions in funding from the city’s police department on Thursday as homicide and violent crime rates in the city skyrocket.
The 2021 fiscal year budget, approved Thursday morning, reallocates $7.7 million in police department funding to other community services. Meanwhile, homicides in Minneapolis are up 62.5 percent this year, according to police department data. The city’s number of recorded gunshots this year also more than doubles 2019’s tally. And the Washington Post reported that shootings in the city are at a 10-year high and violent crimes are at a 5-year high.
Anti-police activists, including Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.), whose congressional district includes Minneapolis, advocated for disbanding the Minneapolis Police Department after George Floyd died in May while in police custody. The city council passed a resolution to abolish the city’s police department this summer, but the Minneapolis Charter Commission blocked the resolution from being placed on November’s ballot.
The funds cut from the police department on Thursday will be distributed to mental health and violence prevention services.
Mayor Jacob Frey (D.) called the vote a “defining” moment for Minneapolis in a statement and said that, despite high crime rates, the funding cut gives residents a reason to be “optimistic” for the future of their city.
“We all share a deep and abiding reverence for the role our local government plays in service of the people of our city,” Frey said. “And today, there are good reasons to be optimistic about the future in Minneapolis.”
Homicide and shooting rates rose in the days following Floyd’s death and have remained elevated since, the Washington Free Beacon previously reported. There have been 30 more homicides this year in Minneapolis compared with 2019, according to police department data. Aggravated assaults in the city are up 18 percent and violent crimes overall are up 20 percent.
Minneapolis joins New York City, Portland, Seattle, and a handful of other U.S. cities that have passed massive police department budget cuts following months of anti-police protests.