Minneapolis, MN – The same city council members who voted to cut $1 million from the police budget with a goal toward abolishing the Minneapolis Police Department complained to the police chief on Wednesday about rising crime in the city.
Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender, who led the movement to do away with the police department, told Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo that she thinks officers were making the city less safe intentionally, the New York Post reported.
“This is not new,” Bender said. “But it is very concerning in the current context.”
She claimed her constituents had told her that police told them they weren’t arresting people intentionally, MPR reported.
The Minneapolis City Council vowed earlier this summer to do away with the police department and replace officers with public health-based resources for reducing violence.
But police department crime data showed that the number of violent crimes in Minneapolis has skyrocketed since the riots that followed the death of 46-year-old George Floyd in the custody of the Minneapolis police.
There were more murders in Minneapolis during the first nine months of 2020 than in all of the prior year, according to MPR.
Chief Arradondo blamed part of the problem on a police shortage that existed prior to the unrest surrounding Floyd’s death but didn’t excuse it.
The chief also said 100 officers – more than double the usual number – have left the department of taken leaves of absence since the start of the year, according to MPR.
He called Bender’s allegations “troubling” and promised to discuss the matter with his command staff and precinct commanders.
“We need to make sure that our communities know that we are going to be there,” Chief Arradondo. “That we’re going to be responsive. We’ve taken an oath to do that.”
The city councilman for the 11th Ward, Jeremy Schroeder, told the chief that residents and business owners in his district were frustrated and frightened by a recent spate of robberies near 48th Street and Chicago Avenue, MPR reported.
Chief Arradondo told the council those crimes had been committed by a group of teenagers who had also been committing carjackings in the area.
“Arrests have been made,” he said. “There are still some pending charges. Both our juvenile units are pursuing those.”
Phillipe Cunningham, who represents the 4th Ward where a 17-year-old was fatally shot on Monday, said two more of his constituents had been wounded by stray bullets while they were inside their homes, MPR reported.
Cunningham was a lead advocate for replacing police with “violence interrupters” and he said it was important to start getting those resources set up.
“If we have these systems in place we are getting ahead of the violence,” he said. “That’s why I have advocated so strongly for the violence interrupters, because if they are interrupting the violence before the guns are being fired, then the MPD doesn’t have to respond to that violence.”
Cunningham accused some of his fellow city councilmembers of backing down on their earlier promises to do away with the Minneapolis Police Department entirely, MPR reported.
“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,” he told the assembled group during the virtual meeting.
The city council’s plan to abolish the police ran into problems when the city’s charter commission, which must approve putting the change to the city charter on the ballot, put the brakes on the process in early August.
The commissioners voted to take another 90 days to review the proposed amendment, a move that pushed the final decision past the deadline to put the measure on the November ballot.
Republican Congressional candidate Lacy Johnson told FOX News that the surge in violent crime was the fault of those who tried to abolish the city’s police department.
Johnson is running against controversial first-time incumbent U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) who is a member of the controversial “squad” of Democratic Socialists pushing a far-left agenda on Capitol Hill and a vocal critic of law enforcement.
“The hypocrisy and failure that we’re seeing from this City Council is astounding and deeply troubling,” he said.
The candidate reminded FOX News that it was the council who called all summer for the “dismantling or demilitarizing or the disarming” of Minneapolis police.
“Now they’re turning around and blaming these brave officers for a situation that they have created,” Johnson said.
It’s not the first time that the Minneapolis City Council has been accused of hypocrisy.
Some of the most prominent councilmembers advocating to abolish the police department used $63,000 in taxpayer funds to pay for private security for themselves in June.
Cunningham was of those who requested and received a security detail after the unrest began in the city.