At the second Minneapolis City Council hearing on Mayor Jacob Frey’s proposed Minneapolis 2019 budget, about 60 Minneapolis residents called on the council to shift resources away from the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), and into alternatives that keep people safe.
Reclaim the Block is a community coalition that has outlined a plan to reinvest public dollars into the Office of Violence Prevention and other critical community resources such as overdose prevention, cooperative housing, support for immigrants and refugees, transgender equity and more.
Reclaim the Block cited multiple MPD scandals as a reason for shifting funds. In June, it was revealed that on 62 separate occasions in 2017, MPD officers had advocated to paramedics to inject people with ketamine, an anesthetic and hallucinogen, without their consent. Earlier this month, MPD responded to a mental health crisis call which resulted in the killing of Travis Jordan.
“MPD has shown us how they do business,” said Kandace Montgomery of Black Visions Collective. “Let's stop putting our money into a model that is built to kill us. We are tired of our tax dollars funding cover-ups and PR campaigns, while the things that really keep our communities safe – housing, drug treatment, healthcare – compete for crumbs year after year.”
Nearly every person who testified emphasized the desperate need for affordable housing in Minneapolis.
“It is outrageous that this council is considering prioritizing funding the police over making sure that our community members have roofs over their heads,” said Hani Ali of Black Visions Collective. “We call on you to use the leadership that we have granted you to support the most marginalized in our communities.”
At the first hearing on the mayor’s budget at the beginning of November, dozens of community members testified in support of Reclaim the Block’s demands for shifting funds. The next public hearing will take place on Wednesday (Dec. 5).