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Mpls council proposal would cut nearly $8M from 2021 police budget

The "Safety for All Budget Plan" was introduced Friday.
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Three Minneapolis City Council members are proposing a major budget cut to the local police force.

It's part of an ongoing push to prioritize mental health training and unarmed responses to nonviolent emergencies, an effort that began in earnest following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer in March.

The "Safety for All Budget Plan" was unveiled Friday with the backing of Council President Lisa Bender and council members Philippe Cunningham and Steve Fletcher.

According to the Star Tribune, the plan would shift nearly $8 million from the Minneapolis Police Department to "violence prevention, a mental health crisis team and other departments" that could focus on nonviolent crimes — such as property damage and parking violations. 

The paper notes that the proposal is already receiving pushback from Major Jacob Frey, who expressed particular concern over its call for "large, permanent cuts" in the number of officers on the force "without sound data or community input to support such a decision."

Minnesota Reformer reports that the plan would funnel $2.44 million to a 24/7 mental health response unit — the likes of which have already been implemented in Eugene, Oregon, and Denver, Colorado — that could be rolled out in Minneapolis as soon as spring.

The news site obtained a copy of the proposal, which states that such investments would "reduce the burden on our police department, deliver more effective and appropriate responses when people in our communities need help, and prevent and interrupt cycles of violence."

The release also says the Safety for All plan would allow police officers to "focus on responding to violence and other emergencies consistent with their training."

Additionally, the plan, if implemented, would "increase resources for civilian-led" accountability over the police department. 

According to its calendar, the City Council will vote to finalize the 2021 budget — which the Safety for All plan would be a part of, if adopted — next month. 

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