On Friday, a little over a month since the killing of George Floyd, the Minnesota City Council voted unanimously on a proposal to create a new Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention, within which the city could employ “licensed peace officers” – that’s police officers to you and me. According to the Minnesota Star Tribune, it’s unclear how many, if any, officers would continue to be employed by the city.
Meanwhile, it appears that at least three Minneapolis City Council members are not going to sacrifice their own safety on the altar of broad police reform. According to Fox 9, the City of Minneapolis is spending $4,500 a day for private security for three council members: Andrea Jenkins, Phillipe Cunningham, and Alondra Cano, all of them outspoken supporters of defunding the Minneapolis Police Department. A spokesperson for the city said the private security details have cost taxpayers $63,000 over the past three weeks.
Apparently, those three council members have received threats over the past month, as Council member Cunningham articulated in a brief statement: “I don’t feel comfortable publicly discussing the death threats against me or the level of security I currently have protecting me from those threats.”
A spokesperson for Minneapolis Police told FOX 9 the department does not have any recent police reports of threats against city council members. In response, council member Jenkins said she had not reported the threats to the Minneapolis Police because she has been preoccupied with the “global pandemic,” as well as the “global uprising” resulting from the killing of George Floyd.
A spokesperson for the city said the MPD resources are needed in the community, and besides, the hourly cost of a private security guard is about the same as a police officer. The city is required to approve the security expense issued by the city council only if it goes above $175,000, and the spokesperson for the city told Fox 9 that the temporary security costs are not expected to reach that high.