Minneapolis has spent $63,000 on private security for three council members who want to abolish the city’s police department.
Council Member Phillipe Cunningham confirmed the report in a statement released on Twitter Friday night.
“I will confirm I have received numerous death threats since I was campaigning for either being transgender or outspoken about police accountability and systems change. I do not feel comfortable saying more about that. Security was offered to me by the city, and I accepted because I need to keep my family safe from the very real threats against me,” said Cunningham.
I do not feel comfortable saying more about that. Security was offered to me by the City, and I accepted it because I need to keep my family safe from the very real threats against me.
— Phillipe Cunningham (@CunninghamMPLS) June 27, 2020
Cunningham noted that Mayor Jacob Frey receives a security detail 365 days a year, which is paid for out of “the same pool of money” covering Cunningham’s security.
“I believe any reasonable person would have accepted help like I did. It’s unfortunate my family’s safety has been exploited for a news talking point,” Cunningham continued. “I will also add that [the Minneapolis Police Department] claimed to have not known about the threats or reports, which is incorrect.”
A city spokesperson confirmed with FOX 9 that Council Members Cunningham, Andrea Jenkins, and Alondra Cano are receiving the protection of a private security detail. According to the report, the city is spending $4,500 a day on the security for a total of $63,000 in expenses over the past three weeks.
“My concern is the large number of white nationalist(s) in our city and other threatening communications I’ve been receiving,” Jenkins told the outlet in an email.
The report was released the same day the Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved a proposal to change the city charter. The change to the charter will allow for the dismantling of the police department, which would be replaced with a Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention. If the process is successful, the change ultimately will be placed on the November ballot for voters to decide on.
Earlier this month, nine members of the council committed themselves to “ending” the Minneapolis Police Department and “creating a new transformative model.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun and The Ohio Star. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Phillipe Cunnigham (Left)” by Phillipe Cunningham. Photo “Alondra Cano (Middle)” by Alondra Cano. Photo “Andrea Jenkins (Right)” by Andrea Jenkins. Background Photo “Minneapolis City Council Meeting” by Tony Webster. CC BY-SA 2.0.