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Minneapolis city council members who voted to dismantle and defund the city’s police department have been using taxpayer dollars to pay for private security.
Following claims that they received threats, Andrea Jenkins, Philippe Cunningham, and Alondra Cano were provided with private security detail costing upwards of $63,000 over the past three weeks. According to the Washington Examiner, citing FOX 9, the security detail was provided by two private security companies, Aegis and BelCom. The detail cost $4,500 a day.
The city council members demanded security, which is typically provided for city officials by the police, whom they sought to defund and disband. The officials claim that they received threats following the death of George Floyd. His death inspired widespread riots in the city, prompting nationwide calls from the Black Lives Matter and Antifa movements to “defund the police.”
“I don’t feel comfortable publicly discussing the death threats against me or the level of security I currently have protecting me from those threats,” said Cunningham. He explained that the security detail was temporary.
Jenkins, on the other hand, told FOX 9 that she insisted on a private security detail ever since she was sworn in. She claims that she received threats from “white nationalists.”
“My concern is the large number of white nationalist(s) in our city and other threatening communications I’ve been receiving,” she said, but said she didn’t report any of the alleged threats to the police because she was too busy dealing with “global pandemic and global uprising,” the latter of which she supports.
Jenkins claims that the alleged threats against her mentioned her ethnicity, gender identity, and sexuality.
Prior to the public’s current anti-police sentiment, the city of Minneapolis traditionally had cops to fill the role, at least for the mayor. Council members do not get the same special treatment.
A spokesperson for the city said that Minneapolis police were not offering officers to perform the detail because their resources are needed elsewhere, adding that the cost to assign a police officer to the role costs around the same as private security.
The city declined to explain who authorized the expenses.