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Minneapolis budget plan includes millions for new employees as part of police reform effort

Sep 13, 2023, 7:19 AM

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Complying with court orders to end racist and unconstitutional policing in Minneapolis will require hiring nearly three dozen new workers at a cost of millions of dollars each year for years to come, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Wednesday.

The Minneapolis City Council on Monday formally took up Mayor Jacob Frey’s proposed 2024 budget. It is the first spending plan directly connecting taxpayer costs to the specific jobs required by the court orders that followed the examination of the police department after the killing of George Floyd in May 2020.

The spending plan adds $7.6 million in costs for new jobs related to the compliance in 2024. That includes adding 34 full-time positions across four city departments for jobs such as lawyers, IT people, workers to examine body-worn camera footage, counselors and trainers for police officers, and overtime.

After 2024, the new positions will continue at an expected cost of nearly $6 million annually for years to come.

There are other costs, too, that are associated with the effort largely prescribed by a court-approved settlement with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights and the expected court-approved consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice.

State human rights officials began investigating shortly after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, knelt on Floyd’s neck for 9 1/2 minutes on May 25, 2020, disregarding the Black man’s fading pleas that he couldn’t breathe. Floyd’s death sparked mass protests around the world, forced a national reckoning on racial injustice, and compelled a Minneapolis Police Department overhaul.

Another cost not yet detailed will include an estimated $1.5 million for the salary and possibly staff for the independent monitor who will assure compliance with the reform agreements.

“Change isn’t cheap,” Frey said in announcing his budget in August. “And change isn’t optional.”

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Minneapolis budget plan includes millions for new employees as part of police reform effort