Several Minneapolis City Council members who reportedly have received death threats following their calls to defund the police–after George Floyd’s death while in police custody on May 25–have been assigned private security details, which reportedly cost the city $4,500 per day in taxpayer dollars.
According to information obtained by Fox News, the city has spent $63,000 on private security over the last three weeks.
“The city of Minneapolis asked for 400 more police in January and they got a couple handfuls and now they want to defund the police, but yet they want their own protection,” Gazelka said, adding that the people of Minneapolis also “want their protection and they want” to be protected “by police.”
Gazelka made the comments after City Council members voted unanimously on Friday to amend the city’s charter to remove the mandate for a police department – the first step toward disbanding it in the wake of Floyd’s death.
The amendment proposed the city replace the police department with a Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention, “which will have responsibility for public safety services prioritizing a holistic, public health-oriented approach,” adraft of the amendmentread.
The proposal added that the director of the new agency would have “non-law-enforcement experience in community safety services, including but not limited to public health and/or restorative justice approaches.” It also suggested setting up a division of licensed peace officers who would answer to the department’s director.
“They don’t know where they’re going,” Gazelka said on Wednesday.
“Minneapolis was meant to be a great city, but we have to stop lawlessness, that’s one of the things that we need for the communities within Minneapolis to thrive.”
He added that “the fact that the city of Minneapolis, the city council there is against the police, is really bad.”
He explained that “the police are trying to do the best they can” and that “we are going to bring reforms on the state level.”
Gazelka also said that the state Senate will hold hearings on “what went wrong.”
He said questions he wants answered include: “Why did the National Guard not come for four days? Why did they not protect the statue of Christopher Columbus when they knew it was going to be torn down? Why did they let the precinct be destroyed when they knew they were going to do that?
“We’re going to get to the bottom of it,” Gazelka said, adding that defunding the police is not the answer.
Although the amendment received a 12-0 vote from council members, it’s facing an uphill battle as it makes its way past a policy committee and to the city’s Charter Commission for a formal review, at which point citizens and city officials also could weigh in.
If successful, the amendment will appear on the November ballot for a vote in the general election.
“[If] this charter amendment were to pass through you would have the head of public safety report to 14 different people, myself and 13 council members,” Minneapolis MayorJacob Freysaid. “Every time something bad happens it’ll be a big finger pointing contest.”
“That won’t work,” Gazelka said in response.
“We can do better in Minnesota,” he added. “I intend for Minnesota to be the great state it’s meant to be and for Minneapolis to be the shining light it’s meant to be.”