FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 17, 2021
Press Contact: Trisha Harms, 612-210-0819 or Trisha@takeactionminnesota.org
Mayor Frey proposes spending $1.4 million in American Rescue Plan Act Funds for law enforcement agencies outside of Minneapolis
TakeAction Minnesota responds to mayor’s toxic proposal of federal stimulus funds for external police contracts after killing of Winston Smith and non-existent $500,000 plan he failed to to execute last year
One day after Mayor Frey told Minneapolis he’d “walk and chew gum” by protecting special interests while “reforming” policing in his spare time, the mayor highlighted his inability to do either in a new proposal to use $1.4 million in federal stimulus funds for external law enforcement contracts. The mayor’s American Rescue Plan Act budget proposal was heard in a public hearing Wednesday night.
The proposal — which comes mere hours after Frey broke his promise to issue dispersal orders before once again turning to violence and arrests against peaceful protestors — would use the money to pay police departments outside the City of Minneapolis.
“This buried proposal is deeply problematic and deserves scrutiny,” said Kenza Hadj-Moussa, a spokesperson for TakeAction Minnesota. “It was less than a month ago that outside law enforcement agencies killed Winston Smith. Our communities are still grieving–there have been no answers or any signs of accountability. It is unfathomable the mayor would ask that money for Minneapolis residents goes to law enforcement agencies outside the City. Stimulus funds should be providing relief to people reeling from the pandemic and the compounding traumas of police violence.”
The proposal for funding to contract with local law enforcement agencies is a carbon copy, at over twice the cost, of Mayor Frey’s “proposal” to send $500,000 to outside law enforcement agencies, with no plan or justification, last November.
At that time, Mayor Frey and his allies repeatedly attacked and pressured the City Council until the funding was approved. But in an embarrassing failure that followed weeks of political posturing on what the mayor treated as his highest priority, the money never even made it to outside law enforcement agencies, because the mayor didn’t have a plan and those agencies were not interested or available.
- In November of 2020, during the city’s budget process, Mayor Frey pushed the city council to approve an additional $500,000 to pay for Hennepin County sheriff deputies and Metro Transit police officers to reinforce MPD.
- CM Ellison during the controversy over the $500,000 non-plan from November 2020: “What we’re asking for is if this is the half million that is going to get us over the hump when the first $184 million was not it, what’s the strategy? What’s the difference here? No strategy, no plan. ‘Shut up and pay us.’ That’s all I’m hearing on this call.”
- After Frey and his allies drove extensive media coverage and editorials about the $500,000 request, the controversial funding proposal was approved 7-6.
- Nonetheless, nothing came of the mayor’s push. Other agencies did not have capacity and never approved a plan.
TakeAction Minnesota is a statewide, multiracial grassroots organization advancing justice and equity through organizing, policy, and campaigns. Offices are located in St. Paul, Duluth, and St. Cloud.