A Minneapolis City Council member has accused local police of slowing down response times to 911 calls in wards where the local councilor has voted in favor of police budget cuts.
The allegation was made in an extraordinary Twitter thread by Councilor Steve Fletcher, whose 3rd Ward covers areas of downtown, the North Loop, and Northeast Minneapolis.
"Politicians who cross the MPD find slowdowns in their wards," he said.
"After the first time I cut money from the proposed police budget, I had an uptick in calls taking forever to get a response, and MPD officers telling business owners to call their councilman about why it took so long."
Fletcher's comments came on the same day that the Minnesota Department of Human Rights announced a civil rights investigation into the police department following the death of George Floyd, to determine if the department "has engaged in systemic discriminatory practices towards people of color" over the past decade.
But the spark for Fletcher's thread was the letter written by Minneapolis Police Federation President Bob Kroll to members on Monday, in which he pledged his support to the four officers fired over Floyd's death, blamed city leaders for the handling of the protests, and said police officers had been used as "scapegoats."
"Bob Kroll’s letter yesterday to the Minneapolis Police Federation membership showed us what rank-and-file officers voted for in their leadership, and it is yet another sign that the department is irredeemably beyond reform," Fletcher wrote, then referring to Kroll as a "malignant presence in our city," and said he should resign.
"After watching MPD officers escalate and provoke anger all week, he asserts that if they’d only been allowed to use more violence, they could have put a stop to demonstrations. This is nonsense. MPD officers chose him as their leader.
"After we’ve spent the week expressing mourning and outrage at Derek Chauvin’s violence and his fellow ex-officers' apathy, Kroll imagines he could sway our feelings by smearing George Floyd’s reputation. This is despicable. MPD officers chose him as their leader.
"I want to be clear: I am about as pro-union as a person can be. The Police Federation should not be thought of as a union. They do not affiliate with the AFL-CIO. They don’t walk picket lines in solidarity. How do I know? Because I do and I’ve never seen them on a line. Not once."
The city council has resisted calls from Chief Medaria Arradondo to significantly increase the size of the city's police force, amid concerns particularly among community members in the city's Northside.
It reached a compromise with Mayor Jacob Frey in December to add an entire class of new police recruits in 2020, but in exchange for "modest reductions elsewhere in MPD's budget and additional funding for the city's Office of Violence Prevention."
Fletcher says that the $195 million a year the city pays for its police force – plus "extensive, expensive legal settlements" should "buy us more than a protection racket that’ll take it out on our constituents if we try to create accountability."
BMTN has reached out to MPD for comment.
You can read the whole thread by clicking this tweet: