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Amid ongoing calls to defund the police following the murder of George Floyd, Minneapolis City Council has unanimously approved the slashing of $8 million worth of funding from the police department.
The funds will now be redirected to mental health teams, violence prevention programs and other initiatives.
Mayor Jacob Frey said: "We all share a deep and abiding reverence for the role our local government plays in service of the people of our city. And today, there are good reasons to be optimistic about the future in Minneapolis."
The council had initially approved a proposal to cut the police department's staff to 750 from the current 888, but Frey threatened to veto the entire budget if the cap remained in place, calling the move 'irresponsible.'
The move was supported by City Council member Steve Fletcher, co-author of the proposal to lower the cap on staffing, who said: "Tonight the City Council passed a budget that represents a compromise, and also a big step forward into a more compassionate and effective public safety future."
He added that the council still had more work to do and that the city 'cannot afford to remain stuck in the past any longer.'
More than 300 Minneapolis locals put their hand up to speak at the hearing this week, with supporters of the council's 'Safety for All' plan dubbing cops as 'cowards', 'gang members', 'white supremacists' and 'terrorists'.
"The place I grew up this summer burned," said Will Roberts, who grew up in the Longfellow neighbourhood. "And it burned because of police misconduct."
Minneapolis resident Loraine Teel supported the mayor's position.
"You cannot achieve reform without a plan that includes the cooperation of those being reformed," the south Minneapolis local told council members. "You have failed miserably."
The city of Minneapolis has seen a surge of crime since the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a police officer kneeled on Floyd's neck for eight minutes, despite a terrified Floyd repeatedly telling the four officers: "I can't breathe."
A viral video of the incident sparked a resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement around the world, with millions of people protesting in the streets and calling for racial justice to end.
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