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Some of the same Minneapolis City Council members who’ve sought to abolish the Minneapolis Police Department — a move that would potentially deprive locals of publicly paid protection — have reportedly been using public taxpayer funds to pay for their own personal private protection details.
“The City of Minneapolis is spending $4,500 a day for private security for three council members who have received threats following the police killing of George Floyd, FOX 9 has learned,” local station KMSP reported Friday.
A city spokesperson told the outlet that total expenditures for this private protection has thus far cost taxpayers over $63,000.
The three council members who’re receiving the security — Andrea Jenkins, Phillipe Cunningham and Alondra Cano — are all black and have reportedly been particularly “outspoken” in their support for eliminating the police.
I had the tremendous opportunity to speak on a panel with @BarackObama, @MsPackyetti, and @rashadrobinson about reimagining policing and public safety. An amazing, robust discussion filled with tangible next steps and hope. ❤️🙌🏾 https://t.co/n5UKrz5Taa
— Phillipe Cunningham (@CunninghamMPLS) June 4, 2020
Excited to see the transformative work we can all do together as we shed the old systems, build healthier + more just legacy. https://t.co/83YuS3ykRd
— Alondra Cano (@AloCanoMN) June 9, 2020
Their goal, as announced earlier this month, is “to create a transformative new model of cultivating safety in our city” to replace the city’s current system of government-based policing.
The makeup of this new model/system will focus on what’s been dubbed community-based policing and be based primarily on the interests of Minneapolis’s minority residents.
“The City Council will engage with every willing community member in Minneapolis, centering the voices of black people, American Indian people, people of color, immigrants, victims of harm, and other stakeholders who have been historically marginalized or under-served by our present system,” a resolution signed earlier this month by Jenkins, Cunningham and Cano reads:
When questioned by KMSP about their private security details, neither Jenkins, Cunningham nor Cano said much.
“Councilmember Phillipe Cunningham declined to discuss the security measures. … Councilmember Andrea Jenkins said she has been asking for security since she was sworn in. She said current threats have come in the form of emails, letters, and posts to social media. … Councilmember Cano did not return messages seeking comment,” the station reported.
The station’s report emerged on the same day that the Minneapolis City Council took another step forward in their quest to abolish local police.
“The Minneapolis City Council on Friday unanimously advanced a proposal to change the city charter to allow the police department to be dismantled, following widespread criticism of law enforcement over the killing of George Floyd,” the Associated Press reported.
“The 12-0 vote is just the first step in a process that faces significant bureaucratic obstacles to make the November ballot, where the city’s voters would have the final say. It also comes amid a spate of recent shootings in Minnesota’s largest city that have heightened many citizens’ concerns about talk of dismantling the department.”
The plan hinges on Minneapolis residents voting to allow the council to modify the city’s charter. The charter currently mandates that the council “fund a police force of at least 0.0017 employees per resident, and provide for those employees’ compensation.” Only via voter approval can this stipulation be nixed, and only via this nixing can the local police department be abolished.
The council’s task therefore is to convince convince local voters to allow them to move forward with this plan. But doing so may not be as easy as desired now that the public’s aware that some council members are benefiting from private protection.
In a Twitter statement posted late Friday evening, Cunningham defended his detail by arguing that it’s “temporary” and noting he’s “received numerous death threat.”
A news report was released tonight about 3 CMs (myself included) receiving temporary private security details. I will confirm I have received numerous death threats since I was campaigning for either being transgender or outspoken about police accountability and systems change.
— Phillipe Cunningham (@CunninghamMPLS) June 27, 2020
I believe any reasonable person would have accepted help like I did. It’s unfortunate my family’s safety has been exploited for a news talking point.
— Phillipe Cunningham (@CunninghamMPLS) June 27, 2020
While the tweets mostly attracted support, a handful of critics cried foul.
Why do you not want the police for others but have security for yourself? This is how a criminal mind works. When people die because there is no real police force, you will have to answer for it. Do you realize that?
— WendyJ (@whyhassleme) June 27, 2020
Oh the irony.
— Nic (@Nic35308625) June 27, 2020
— JustMeNee (@JustMeNee2) June 27, 2020
Provide your own security, hypocritical bastard!
— MrRoboto (@trebor_roboto) June 27, 2020
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