The ACLU of Minnesota applauds the passage of the Safety for All Budget Plan by the Minneapolis City Council’s budget committee, and we urge the entire City Council tonight to approve the SFA plan and budget as amended, and Mayor Frey to approve it.
The budget, which would move $7.9 million away from traditional policing and reinvest it in resources and services for communities, would be a significant first step toward a public safety policy that actually keeps all Minneapolis residents safe.
Black and Brown neighborhoods have been violently over-policed and dangerously under-resourced for decades, creating a situation in which policing and punitive programs are often the only “services” available to a person of color in need of resources and support. Protests and unrest earlier this year express the anguish of Black and Brown people living in these communities – people for whom a police presence too often means punishment, not safety.
By voting to shift nearly $8 million away from traditional policing into resources, services and violence prevention, the Minneapolis City Council would make it possible to enact some reforms that would support communities and make them safer:
- Shift the reporting of low-level offenses like theft, property damage and traffic incidents to 311 or other non-police city staff.
- Dispatch trained mental health professionals, instead of armed police, to respond to mental and behavioral health crises.
- Invest additional resources in the existing Office of Violence Prevention so that we can prevent violent crime, rather than simply respond to it.
- Strengthen community oversight and community-led police accountability.
The Safety for All Budget Plan is a meaningful step toward a future that values prevention over punishment and centers the safety and well-being of all communities, not just wealthy white ones. More reforms are needed, and the ACLU-MN is working hard to achieve other policy goals such as banning facial recognition technology, restricting police use of force and increasing community oversight of police.
We look forward to continuing our work to make Minneapolis -- and other cities across our state -- truly safe for everyone.