Minneapolis City Council approves police budget cuts, staffing levels unchanged
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The Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously to move almost $8 million from next year’s police department budget and redirect it to mental health services and other local initiatives.

Some $7.7 million of the department's $179 million budget will go toward mental health teams, violence prevention initiatives and other programs. Funds will also be used to increase "capacity within the Civil Rights Department's Office of Police Conduct Review to investigate complaints about police officer behavior," according to multiple reports.

The city council previously approved a proposal to cut the city’s police force from 888 officers to 750. However, the council voted 7-6 on Wednesday to maintain current staffing levels.

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Minneapolis Mayor Jacob FreyJacob FreyMinneapolis mayor on Floyd: 'Ultimately his life will have bettered our city' White House readies for Chauvin verdict Minneapolis reaches settlement with George Floyd's family for record M MORE (D), who previously threatened to veto the budget passed by the city council if police staffing was capped, called the vote a defining moment for the city, according to The Associated Press.

“We all share a deep and abiding reverence for the role our local government plays in service of the people of our city,” Frey said. “And today, there are good reasons to be optimistic about the future in Minneapolis.”

The city council’s vote came after days of debate among members and emotional public hearings over funding in the city. Over 300 Minneapolis residents signed up to speak about the proposed budget on Wednesday. 

Approximately $5 million of the $7.7 million cut came from a budget for police overtime funds, according to The Washington Post.

Minneapolis became the focal point of calls for widespread police reforms earlier this year after the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a former Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck during an arrest.

A separate city commission earlier this year voted against putting a proposal to replace the city’s current police department with a new “Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention” on the ballot for voters in November, the AP noted.