City votes down extra funding for 4th Precinct in new budget

by Nick Wicker

The Minneapolis City Council passed its 2016 budget Wednesday, omitting a controversial last-minute amendment that drew crowds to the meeting. 
The proposal, introduced by Mayor Betsy Hodges and Ward 5 Council Member Blong Yang the day before the public hearing, called for spending $605,000 on “safety and accessibility improvements at the 4th precinct to better serve officers and the community,” according to a press release issued Tuesday
Concerns over the money’s proposed use were voiced in hours of testimony from Black Lives Matter activists — who staged an 18-day protest at the North Minneapolis police station after last month’s fatal shooting of Jamar Clark by Minneapolis police.
“You all are spending money to fortify a police precinct?” said BLM organizer Michael McDowell to Council members Wednesday. “Why are you worried about police safety when they’re supposed to be protecting us?”
However, many BLM testifiers voiced support for Hodges’ proposal to appropriate $305,000 toward implicit bias training for the Minneapolis Police Department.
“Ensuring that police officers are fully trained to conduct themselves fairly, recognize and unlearn the biases that we all carry with us, and respond appropriately during crisis is a high priority,” Hodges said in the press release. 
Council members approved funding for MPD training and struck down allocations for the 4th precinct building.