Minneapolis will once again try to defund its police department

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Minneapolis police . (credit: CBS)

Characterizing destructive May protests after the death of George Floyd in police custody as civic action, Minneapolis City Council members are trying again to cut police funding in their city by about $8 million, reports CBS 4 Minnesota.

Minneapolis City Council Member Phillipe Cunningham said he saw the mass protests following George Floyd’s death in late May as an imperative for something new.

“We had a clear call from residents of this city that they wanted to see transformation,” Cunningham said.

A previous attempt to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department failed in early November, only to be followed by this less-drastic effort.

Cunningham and fellow council members Lisa Bender and Steve Fletcher co-wrote a budget plan that proposes moving about $8 million out of the police department. The current budget allowed nearly $200 million for the MPD.

Part of the $8 million would go to create unarmed teams to respond to non-emergencies. Cunningham says freeing MPD from having to deal with theft reports or parking problems would free up officers to investigate violent crime.

“This is about focusing the resources where they are needed, while also unburdening the police department from having to respond to up to 15 percent of the calls right now that really fall outside of what their purview is,” Cunningham said.

There would also be dedicated responders to mental health incidents, a common 911 call category. The proposal also includes violence prevention and police accountability programs.

The number of officers would be reduced to 770, the same as Mayor Jacob Frey’s budget proposal. But while Frey’s plan allows for more officers to be added in future years, the council members’ proposal would keep decreasing the number of officers.

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