Judge orders Minneapolis to hire more police officers after major crime spike and defunding of police force

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A judge ordered the city of Minneapolis on Thursday to hire more police officers after several residents sued over the lack of law enforcement in the face of a spike in violent crime.

The Hennepin County District Court judge ordered the Minneapolis City Council and Mayor Jacob Frey to “immediately take any and all necessary action to ensure that they fund the police force.”

The judge gave the city until June 30, 2022, to employ at least 730 sworn police officers. They are projected to have only 669 officers after an “exodus” through retirement, resignations, and officers taking extended leave.

A majority of Minneapolis City Council members committed to defunding the police force weeks after the death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police in May 2020.

Although violent crime spiked in the city, Mayor Frey agreed to cut $8 million from the police force and reroute the money to violence prevention and mental health response initiatives.

Among the residents suing for more police was Don Samuels, a former member of the Minneapolis City Council.

“We have made the emotional appeal,” Samuels said. “We have demonstrated the statistical uptick and now this is the legal action we are exercising because it seems as if the City Council cannot hear us and doesn’t feel what we feel.”

The “Defund the Police” movement gained steam during the Black Lives Matter protests, but some like New Salem Baptist Church Rev. Jerry McAfee argued that it puts people at risk from crime.

“Let’s look at the facts! It has caused harm!” McAfee said to MSNBC about the “defund the police” movement.

“To defund the police right now is absolutely, positively, insane,” he added.