Law & the Courts

Minneapolis Spends Thousands on Private Security for City Councilmen amid Calls to ‘Defund’ the Police

State patrol officers stand guard during a rally against the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minn., May 31, 2020. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

Minneapolis has spent over $63,000 to provide private security for members of its city council, which has been outspoken in calls to defund the police department following the death of George Floyd.

Andrea Jenkins (Ward 8), Phillipe Cunningham (Ward 4), and Alondra Cano (Ward 9) are being provided details that cost $4,500 a day, a city spokesperson confirmed to local outlet FOX9.

While Cano did not return a request for comment, Cunningham said he was not “comfortable publicly discussing the death threats against me,” but said the security was temporary. Jenkins — an African American man who identifies as a woman — told FOX9 that the security was over concern for “the large number of white nationalist(s) in our city and other threatening communications I’ve been receiving.”

A Minneapolis Police Department spokesperson told FOX9 that the police had not been made aware of any threats against city council members.

The city spokesperson explained that the current measures are “a temporary bridge” to more formal procedures for council members, and are not expected to pass $175,000, which would require official approval by the City Council.

Last week, the Minneapolis City Council voted 12-0 to further advance a proposal for dismantling the city’s police department. City Council president Lisa Bender has argued in response to questions over safety that fear comes from “a place of privilege.”“I think we need to step back and imagine what it would feel like to already live in that reality where calling the police may mean more harm instead,” she told CNN earlier this month.

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