Members of the Minneapolis City Council claimed this week that the group never said it would defund the police department.
“‘Defund’ is not the framework the council has ever chosen,” Councilman Steve Fletcher told KSTP during a recent interview.
“If we’re going to look at how we fund different programs, it would be very hard to do that without taking that money from the Minneapolis Police Department,” he continued.
However, following George Floyd’s death, Fletcher and Councilman Phillipe Cunningham joined their colleagues on a stage in Powderhorn Park and “pledged to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department, while standing behind a banner that read ‘Defund Police,'” the KSTP article said.
In June, the council voted unanimously to abolish the police department, and on December 10, it cut $8 million from the department’s budget.
By November, the city was reportedly experiencing the most homicides since the mid-1990s.
“The number of homicides thus far in 2020 is 79 and the number of shooting victims in the city is over 500,” according to a Breitbart News article that also said carjackings in the city were up by nearly 537 percent.
Last week, a Minneapolis hair salon owner whose business was burned to the ground during the George Floyd riots told Fox News she did not agree with the council’s plan to cut the department’s budget.
“We need the police, we need them,” Flora Westbrooks stated, adding that she felt less safe now than she did before the unrest.
“Everyone that I talk to, they’re afraid right now because we don’t have the protection. … I know as for me, I am afraid, yes,” she said.
According to the KSTP article, the diverted funding will go toward mental health crisis teams responding to nonthreatening calls for service.
“I think the goal is to transform public safety and I think it remains to be seen whether this department is going to come along with us on that,” Fletcher explained.
“We have not seen an acknowledgment of a problem from the rank and file force and I do have concerns about whether they’re going to block the culture change that the mayor and chief are calling for,” he concluded.