Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey presented his proposed budget to the City Council Thursday, as protesters demonstrated against police violence in the city.
Before the meeting started, City Council members filed out of the room. The meeting was briefly adjourned as protesters carrying signs shouted Jamar Clark's name and chanted about police brutality. A Minneapolis police officer fatally shot Clark in 2015. The officers involved were not charged in the death.
The protesters disrupted the meeting several times through the mayor’s budget speech.
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo had asked for 400 new officers by 2025 in order to improve police response and reduce demands on officers dealing with more social issues.
In his budget proposal, Mayor Jacob Frey offered 14 new officers for the coming year.
“My 2020 budget includes a recommendation for eight outreach officers so more of our new cops come to understand community police as Chief Arradondo does,” Frey said, raising his voice above the shouting.
The proposal also includes new traffic cops and new investigators for the sexual assault and domestic violence divisions.
Sam Sanchez, one of the protesters, said they wanted money for victims of police brutality and other crimes, not more money for the police department.
“If you can't hold something accountable, if you have a department running amok, why are you going to add more funding? Why are you going to provide more staff?” he said.
Both the Mayor and the police chief said they support the protesters’ First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and expression.
Frey set up “economic inclusion” as a major theme of his budget talk. That includes a large investment in affordable housing.
“This year, we are also injecting another $31 million of city money into our affordable housing budget,” he said.
The city will try to get as much state and federal resources for affordable housing as it can. The mayor said the city is on track for an annual investment of more than $130 million of investment in affordable housing.
Frey talked about creating several new cultural districts. And the mayor proposed a new fund in collaboration with the city attorney that would serve as an alternative to cash bail.
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