Nearly eight months after the massive protests in the United States seeking to defund the police after the death of an African American man named George Floyd due to alleged police brutalities in Minneapolis, the city council members of the Minneapolis have now decided to spend millions of dollars on recruiting more officers to halt the soaring crime rate in the city.
On May 25, 2020, a 46-year-old black man – George Floyd, was killed after a Minnesota police officer knelt on the former’s neck for 7 long minutes until his body became unresponsive. Following his death, massive countrywide protests had erupted in various US states. Hundreds of protestors had hit the streets to protest against George Floyd’s death, who demanded their respective governments to stop funding the police department claiming that it represented only white Americans.
Succumbing to the civil society’s pressure, a month after the George Floyd incident, the Minneapolis City Council had unanimously approved a proposal to eliminate the city’s police department, saying that it was the first step toward establishing a new “holistic” approach to public safety.
In the move that had come after a national outrage and protests against the alleged police brutality, the council had defended its decision saying that the police force was largely white and stressed the need for defunding the department citing that the police had’ long struggled’ to reflect the city’s racial makeup.
However, a few months after deciding to ‘defund’ the police force, the city council members realised that not everything was going according to their plan.
City council members sound alarm after defunding the police
In September, Minneapolis City Council members, who had just two months ago moved to defund the police department, now sounded the alarm about a surge in crime in the city.
After removing the police force over the citizen protests, the same city council had to press the Police Chief Medaria Arradondo about the rise in crimes in the city, including daylight car thefts, robberies, assaults, shootings and street racing. The council members were now worried about the unanswered calls made by the residents to the Minneapolis Police Department.
With no one to blame, the Council President Lisa Bender had accused police of intentionally not enforcing laws or making arrests.
Well, some Minneapolis city council, realising the blunder they had committed by defunding the police officers in September 2020, decided to rethink their earlier decision. Following the rise of crime in the city, some of the city council members wanted to walk back on their decision.
Minneapolis city council rethinks its policy after surge in crime
Several council members who wanted to support the pledge to overhaul the Minneapolis Police Department, however, also wanted the council to re-consider different ways to do it rather than completely ‘defunding’ the police department. As Minneapolis residents lamented the lack of police presence within their communities, the council members had decided to reconsider their support for the earlier pledge of removing police.
Police officer leave the force as pressure mounts
Nearly six months after George Floyd’s death and the subsequent public outrage to defund the police, Minneapolis city once again grappled with two major crises – an unprecedented wave of violence and a series of officer departures.
Following police officers’ departure, homicides in Minneapolis went up by 50 per cent, with nearly 75 individuals killed in the town. More than 500 individuals were shot with no police forces to secure law and order in the city. The Minneapolis police had contended that they are struggling to reply as they have confronted a surge of officer departures in the wake of Floyd’s demise and the outcry towards police.
Police Chief Medaria Arradondo had then stated that more than 100 officers had left the job due the pressure.
Minneapolis city council takes a u-turn, now wants to recruit more
In February this year, taking a complete U-turn on defunding the police force, the Minneapolis council members decided to spend $6.4 million to hire more police officers amidst the spiking of violent crimes in the city.
In December, the city council voted to cut $8 million from the police budget to balance public safety and root out bad officers. However, two months later, the city council has now voted unanimously to approve the additional funding.
It is rather baffling to see the Minneapolis city council’s flip-flops over the issue of defunding the police forces on the one hand and failing to have a grip on handling violent crimes in the city on the other. The Minneapolis story of ‘funding and defunding’ certain objectives perfectly manifests the current flux in the American political system, especially after the Biden’s election victory.