A mere three months after lobbying to “defund the police,” several members of the Minneapolis City Council are reporting that residents are asking where the police have gone.
In a meeting Tuesday on police reform, MPR News reports, “council members told police Chief Medaria Arradondo that their constituents are seeing and hearing street racing which sometimes results in crashes, brazen daylight carjackings, robberies, assaults and shootings.”
“Residents are asking, ‘Where are the police?'” said Jamal Osman, a newly elected council member. Osman reported that multiple residents have contacted him complaining they have tried to reach police to no avail.
“[Residents] rely on MPD [Minneapolis Police Department.] And they are saying they are nowhere to be seen,” Osman said.
In June, this same body unanimously voted to eliminate the city’s police department, advocating for a holistic approach to public safety that included stripping $1 million from the police budget to hire “violence interrupters.”
Three of those council members who voted to defund the police on June 12 opened up questions at the meeting about the ensuing crime wave, the Daily Caller noted. Steve Fletcher, Lisa Bender, and Andrew Johnson had also participated in a June 7 protest where they demanded that the police be defunded, yet they now protest that their constituents are without active neighbourhood policing.
Council member Phillipe Cunningham supported the concept of hiring “violence interrupters” and seemed baffled at the change of heart many members demonstrated at Tuesday’s meeting, despite an “uptick of crime in his ward.”
“What I am sort of flabbergasted by right now is colleagues, who a very short time ago were calling for abolition, are now suggesting we should be putting more resources and funding into MPD,” Cunningham said.
Fletcher, who had penned an essay for TIME magazine about his “publicly supporting the call to disband our police department and start fresh with a community-oriented, non-violent public safety and outreach capacity,” now asked where the police had gone.
At the city council meeting, Fletcher said that officers were “not doing anything to prevent robberies” in the Marcy Holmes area, and lamented the “significant increase in extremely dangerous and reckless driving.”
Fletcher asked “I’d love to know a little more about what the robbery suppression work is and what are we doing what’s been sort of a pattern in Marcy over the past six weeks?”
Bender said that she thought it was possible that officers were motivated to not due their jobs based on political reasons, that officers weren’t responding to crime calls “because they don’t support council member, or in some cases, the mayor, or perhaps they think they they’re making the case for more resources for the department.”
Bender, who told CNN in June that calling the police during emergency circumstances “comes form a place of privilege,” asked during the city council meeting “How do we get this under control?”
Johnson also said he wants to put a stop to the crime wave, asking “How do we stop it? Because it seems like a huge problem and it’s something we absolutely want to stop and it also seems very difficult to stop.” His major complaint were the carjackings in his community.
It was back in June that Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey was humiliated in public when he refused to commit to defunding the police. The city council resolution to defund the police stated that the city would start engaging “with every willing community member in Minneapolis” in order to create a new and improved public safety model. Nine of 13 Minneapolis city council members pledged to defund the police.
According to Minneapolis Police Department’s crime data available, reported violent crimes, including robberies and homicides, are up nearly 50 percent this year compared to last. A recent Minneapolis Star Tribune article reported the “[s]tate’s largest city could be headed for its most violent year in at least two decades.”