Minneapolis committee narrowly approves extra funding to help MPD

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo and Mayor Jacob Frey asked the City Council for about $500,000 for extra help out on the streets.

The money will be used to potentially partner with the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and Metro Transit Police for approximately 40 officers to work with a depleted MPD in the final weeks of the year.

The chief pointed out that no contracts have been signed at this point, but the idea is to form joint enforcement teams to crack down on the surge of violence across Minneapolis. The city has seen about 75 murders, hundreds of shootings, and a rash of carjackings at an unprecedented rate.

Initially, the request was met with some fierce opposition from a council that’s been trying to re-imagine policing since the deadly arrest of George Floyd.

“I would really like a better answer about where the $185 million has gone because it just seems like it didn't go into the outcomes that we would’ve expected, and I'm having a hard time seeing how you can’t find it within your department,” Fletcher said.

“I have 74 people who are no longer alive in the city because they’ve been killed. I’ve got almost 500 people who have been shot and wounded in this city. We can go back and forth on the $185 million [annual MPD budget], but that is not stopping the bloodshed that is occurring in our city,” Chief Arradondo said. “We can talk about reimagining policing; I am talking about what is necessary today in this city, and we need extra resources.”

The committee debate lasted more than two hours and featured intense exchanges about policing and department transparency.

Council member Jeremiah Ellison challenged Chief Arradondo's request saying, "What you're saying is 'we don't have to put together a strategy. We don't have to put together a plan. We don't need to provide any budget transparency. Just shut up and pay us, shut up and feed the beast, put your money here; we don't have to prove anything. If you care, put your money here.'"

"But as you said, chief, over 70 people are dead, and you want to talk about satisfaction? According to you, $184 million of the people's money down the drain, over 70 people dead and you asked about satisfaction? Of course I'm not satisfied... I don't think anyone on this call is satisfied. What we're asking for is if this is the half a million that will get us over the hump - the first $184 million was not it - then what's the strategy? What's the difference here? No strategy, no plan."  

In the end, the Policy and Government Oversight Committee barely approved the money on a bitterly divided 7-6 vote. The measure now heads to the full council meeting on Friday.