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Minneapolis slashes police budget in wake of Floyd killing

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A protester in front of a burning building during a demonstration in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 29, 2020, over the death of George Floyd./AFP
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Dec 11, 2020 - 03:59 AM

WASHINGTON — The Minneapolis city council voted to slash nearly $8 million from its police budget Thursday as it seeks to overhaul its force in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, US media reported.

The money reduced from the mayor’s $179 million police spending proposal will be moved to other areas, including financing mental health crisis teams, the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper reported.

But the budget maintains staffing projections of 888 officers for the police department as sought by Mayor Jacob Frey amid an increase in violent crime in the Midwestern city that was convulsed by protests following Floyd’s killing.

A majority of the city council had supported disbanding the force after a white police officer was captured on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck for several minutes until he went limp in May, but the proposal later stalled.

The killing sparked weeks of protests and unrest around the country, with the shootings and deaths of other African Americans — including Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky — leading to fervent calls for justice.

The protests and their rallying cry of “Black Lives Matter” played a role in the US presidential election, eventually won by Democrat Joe Biden over Donald Trump.

Cities across the country have been weighing how to respond to calls for deep reforms to their police forces.

Four officers have been charged over Floyd’s killing and are expected to stand trial in March.

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