UPDATED 1:10 PM PT – Friday, December 11, 2020
As the city of Minneapolis continues to make changes to its police department, business owners are saying they feel unsafe.
The Minneapolis City Council’s decision to slash $8 million from the police department has some business owners reeling at the possible consequences of the move.
“I have seen our community and our workforce and our leadership at the city really…in a completely new way, understand the city’s role of every single person…in creating a city that is just,” Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender noted. “And that is equitable and that is safe.”
Flora Westbrooks, the owner of a hair salon, had her business burned to the ground in May due to “civil unrest,” according to her ‘Go Fund Me‘ page. She owned the salon for four decades before the George Floyd riots destroyed her business.
According to Friday’s reports, Westbrooks said she doesn’t feel safe and emphasized the community needs the protection of the police. She also noted that many people she knows do not support the idea of defunding the police department.
Westbrooks and other business owners called the city out for not helping them recover from the damages that occurred during the violent riots.
This came as crime rates continue to skyrocket in Minneapolis with carjackings up 331 percent. According to data from the city’s police department, the number of gunshot victims has nearly doubled when compared to this time last year.
On Thursday, the city council approved the ‘Safety for All‘ budget plan for 2021, which will allocate millions of dollars away from the police budget in order to fund mental health and violence prevention programs.