Ilhan Omar defends Minneapolis proposal to slash nearly $8 million from police budget

The city's mayor called the proposal "irresponsible."

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., appeared to defend on Monday the Minneapolis City Council's proposal to transfer $8 million in police funding to other services.

"Don't fall for the fear-driven narratives," the Minnesota congresswoman tweeted. "We can craft a justice system that prioritizes people’s basic needs like mental health + violence prevention, & allow the city to put public safety first."

She gave a shout out to city council members Lisa Bender, Phillipe Cunningham, and Steve Fletcher, who authored the policy. According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the proposal would transfer about 5% of the police budget to a mental health crisis team and violence prevention, among other things.

After George Floyd's death in May, Omar was one of the leading proponents of the "defund the police" movement, which has encountered pushback from law enforcement. 

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Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey reportedly described the city council's proposal as "irresponsible and untenable."

“This notion that in order to have a more comprehensive public safety strategy you have to do away with one critical element, which is police, is wrong," Frey said, before adding that communities were looking for a "both-and" approach.

“This is literally a life and death matter right now and we need to get it right,” he said. In June, the City Council cut the police budget by about $14 million.

While Frey's proposed budget called for a target police force size of 888, the city council's plan would reduce the authorized force size to 750 from 770 officers.

Citing the council's calls for defunding, Minneapolis residents previously sued the city over a lack of police presence amid spikes in violent crime in the city. 

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According to police data, more than 500 people have been shot in Minneapolis this year – twice as many as 2019, while murders are up more than 50%. 

So far this year, there have been nearly 5,000 violent crimes, the most in the past five years, the records show.

Like New York, Minneapolis saw an increase in officers seeking to depart the force.

Fox News' Hollie McKay and Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.