The City of Minneapolis has spent $63,000 on private security details for three city council members who claim they have been subjected to threats in recent weeks.
Three members of the council, which pledged to seek a replacement for the city’s police department and on Friday “advanced a proposed ballot measure asking voters to create a new Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention,” are receiving city-funded private security detail after claiming to have received threats in recent weeks. The security detail, provided by firms Aegis and BelCom, is costing the city roughly $4,500 per day.
As Fox 9 reported, the three council members who have the security detail are “Andrea Jenkins (Ward 8), and Phillipe Cunningham (Ward 4), and Alondra Cano (Ward 9)” all of whom have been “outspoken proponents of defunding the Minneapolis Police Department.”
Cano did not comment on the matter, while Cunningham told the outlet that the private security was temporary. He ultimately said he was not comfortable “publicly discussing the death threats against me or the level of security I currently have protecting me from those threats.”
However, Councilwoman Jenkins said she has been requesting security since being sworn into her position and told the outlet that she is concerned by “the large number of white nationalist(s) in our city and other threatening communications I’ve been receiving.”
Jenkins, who said she has received threats attacking her gender identity and ethnicity, specifically, admitted she has not reported the threats to Minneapolis Police — which the council has moved to abolish — suggesting she has been too consumed by the “global pandemic and global uprising” dominating the national narrative.
“A spokesperson for Minneapolis Police told FOX 9 the department does not have any recent police reports of threats against city council members. It is possible a report could have been filed confidentially,” the outlet reported.
A city spokesperson told Fox 9 that the private security detail, which has an hourly cost “similar” to that of a police officer, is expected to be temporary and explained that they opted for a private security detail to preserve Minneapolis Police Department resources for the community.
Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender has promised that the council would “dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a transformative new model of public safety.”
The city council took another step in that direction on Friday, advancing a ballot measure “that would ask Minneapolis voters to amend the City Charter to create a new Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention and remove the Police Department as a charter department.” The department would be responsible for “public safety services prioritizing a holistic, public health-oriented approach” in lieu of police.