Minneapolis shocked the country in June when the majority of its city council pledged to defund the police department in the wake of George Floyd’s death. But some of the nine council members who supported the pledge told The New York Times they now regret it. Many activists and observers took the pledge to be literal but Councilor Andrew Johnson said he intended it to be “in spirit.” Councilor Phillipe Cunningham said the language in the pledge was “up for interpretation” and had been understood differently by each councilor. Lisa Bender, the council president, said it had “created confusion.”
A recent spike in crime in Minneapolis has led many residents to reevaluate their support for reducing police numbers, and some told the Times they never supported the idea to begin with. Mayor Jacob Frey, who was booed out of a protest for refusing to support defunding the police, said the pledge was confusing and vague.