Minneapolis Spends $63,000 on Own City Council Members' Private Security as They Move To Disband Police


I wonder if the members of the Minneapolis City Council realize the irony of the fact that their private security details are costing taxpayers a reported $4,500 per day.

Minneapolis, the city where George Floyd died after a police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes and where the protests which have swept the nation started, took the first steps toward disbanding their police department late last week.

According to WCCO-TV, a resolution authored by five of the council members seeks to change the city charter to make disbanding the police department possible. Passage of the resolution, which was unanimously approved Friday, represents the start of a process that, if successful, will result in a measure being put on the ballot in November that allows citizens to decide if they want to amend the charter.

The charter currently says there needs to be a police department in the city. But the proposed amendment would replace the police department with “a department of community safety and violence prevention,” which is supposed to take “a holistic, public-health-oriented approach.”

“Of course we still have to have emergency response for those situations that are difficult to de-escalate, but I think that it’s important for us to keep in perspective that most of what police do is not respond to violent situations,” Councilman Jeremiah Ellison said.

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The police, mind you, will still be around for a while. The city council has hedged its bets by placing in the ordinance a provision for “a division of law enforcement services, composed of licensed peace officers.”

Ellison says, for instance, that someone needed to deal with George Floyd allegedly passing counterfeit currency, but it wasn’t necessary for four armed police officers to respond.

“It’s undemocratic for nine people to go and decide what a new system of public safety is going to look like in a back room,” Ellison said. “I think it’s really going to require the voices of every single resident in our city.”

And you get the feeling Ellison really means hearing from each and every single citizen, preferably with each one giving a 15-minute PowerPoint presentation before the council about how they would like to see the police department disbanded and a new law enforcement entity brought forth. Then, perhaps, the issue can be turned over to a blue-ribbon commission to study the subject.

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In short, the odds that this is done in any sort of substantive manner, particularly after the protesters go home and the media pack up their satellite trucks and leave, are almost nil. Maybe then everyone will forget that, as the fires of protest burned the hottest, the members of the city council made a promise they had no intention of keeping when they’re stoking the embers of apathy instead.

Unfortunately for the council members, there are some pretty angry people on the other side of the debate — and, according to KMSP-TV, some of the more degenerate members of this contingent are threatening three of them

Andrea Jenkins, Phillipe Cunningham and Alondra Cano — all prominent proponents of defunding the department — say they’ve received threats.

It’s unclear from the council members themselves, however, who these threats are coming from, how numerous they are or what they consist of.

There are also no police reports regarding threats against any of the council members, a Minneapolis police spokesperson told KMSP, although a report may have been filed confidentially.

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“I don’t feel comfortable publicly discussing the death threats against me or the level of security I currently have protecting me from those threats,” Cunningham said in a text to the outlet.

Jenkins, the city council’s vice president who has been asking for security since her swearing-in, said her threats, as per KMSP, “have come in the form of emails, letters, and posts to social media.”

“My concern is the large number of white nationalist[s] in our city and other threatening communications I’ve been receiving,” she said.

Here, then, was the answer:

If only there was a governmental arm that was trained to effectively provide protection to people who’ve been threatened. I hope their security is taking “a holistic, public-health-oriented approach.”

Anyhow, the private security — who took a holistic approach, doubtlessly — costs $4,500 a day, according to KMSP. The taxpayers of Minneapolis have already paid $63,000 for this, a city spokesperson confirmed to the outlet.

People, you may not be surprised, had some opinions on this:

Just so we’re clear: “Asked why Minneapolis Police are not providing security services to the three council members, a city spokesperson said MPD resources are needed in the community,” KMSP reported. “The hourly cost of private security is similar to the cost for a police officer, the spokesperson added.”

The security measures are just intended as a bridge measure until council members can find other security measures, the spokesperson said.

Whatever the case may be, I hope they find holistic security that figures out what kind of anomie the people allegedly making these threats are dealing with.

Disbanding the police is a terrible idea — one which will likely never see the light of day.

Most of us will never need the kind of security these city council members apparently require. If we did, however, the only way we’d be able to get it is through law enforcement — and probably police. Social workers likely wouldn’t make the grade.

I’d like to think the three council members now finally realize why police are so important. I doubt they do, though.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture