Complaints come after the city approved a plan on July 24 to move $1.1 million in funding from the police department to the Minneapolis Office of Violence Prevention. Minneapolis protesters called for police reform or a complete defunding of the police department after George Floyd, a Black man, died in police custody on May 25.
“They got for this initiative — this violence prevention initiative. They got $1.1 million to prevent violence or whatever. Well, excuse me, but I haven’t seen any prevention of violence,” Central neighborhood resident Karen Forbes told KARE11 News.
The Minneapolis Public Health & Safety Committee on Thursday also released the beginning stages of a community safety plan that aims to find alternatives to police and policing activity through proposals such as mental health co-responder teams, domestic violence outreach and a violence prevention fund.
“We were hoping that they would listen to us,” Forbes said in reference to a group of residents who reached out to the committee during the meeting to share their ideas for a plan to suppress crime in the area, but the discussion did not allow public comments.
Community members will have the opportunity to make public comments on Oct. 8, the Committee told KARE11 in a statement.
Forbes said a bullet recently went through her wall. Bill Rodriguez, who lives in the Bancroft neighborhood, told the outlet that he recently experienced a break-in. Other residents say they’ve noticed more frequent police sirens and gunshots in the area, KARE11 reported.
The Minneapolis City Council discussed residents’ concerns with spikes in crime during a Sept. 16 meeting after voting to transfer funding.
Rodriguez said the Health & Safety Committee “didn’t want to take public comments on public safety.”
The Committee said in a statement to KARE11 that Thursday’s discussion “did not include an open comment period. There was only one period during today’s meeting where the public could provide comments, and that was as part of a public hearing on a proposed food catering ordinance.”
“The City has an obligation to ensure all of its public meetings comply with the law and that full and fair access is available to anyone interested in participating. State statute requires us to provide a minimum of three days public notice prior to a public comment period, and today’s staff presentation on transforming public safety did not include public comment,” the statement added.
Rodriguez argued that the Committee “easily could’ve suspended the rules and said, ‘OK, you’re here, technicality, let’s let you speak anyway.’ They said, ‘No way. Ain’t going to happen.'”
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz deployed the state’s National Guard in June and late August amid civil unrest in the city after several incidents of White officers shooting Black men and women in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kentucky and other states this summer.
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