Brooklyn Center Curfew Measure Fails, Police Budget Vote Pushed to Later Date
In a meeting that lasted more than six hours and went until after midnight, the Brooklyn Center City Council voted not to give the city manager the authority to enact an emergency curfew after the verdict in the Kim Potter trial.
The change was considered so the city manager could declare a curfew in a timely manner. Brooklyn Center Fire Chief Todd Berg spoke last week in support of the measure, saying it would help the population that depends on Metro Transit.
The vote was 3-2 in favor, but the measure required a unanimous vote. Several people spoke in the meeting, even though there wasn’t an official public comment period published. Those against it were concerned that it might send a mixed message that rioting and unrest was expected when there isn’t a clear need for one.
Mayor Mike Elliott and council member Marquita Butler cast no votes. Butler said she would support a curfew only if it was needed. Elliott spoke about the legal aspect, saying the ordinance could be legally “problematic.”
“I think it’s incredibly important that an elected leader or elected body calls a curfew, imposes a curfew on a population,” said Elliott. “So giving that to a non-elected administrator I think is in non-alignment with the city charter.”
Council member April Graves voted for giving the city manager the authority to declare a curfew.
“I think we’re really trying to be proactive, not prescriptive,” said Graves. “We’re trying to create spaces for the city manager.”
What happens now? A city curfew could still be declared by the mayor or with a unanimous vote by the council.
No Vote Yet on 2022 Police Budget
One budget plan would divert $1.2 million from vacant police positions to police reform initiatives. The money would come from unfilled police officer positions. The city says there are currently 34 officers on the force, while a police union spokesperson says there are 30. The discrepancy is due to pending resignations and officers on medical leave.
The public spoke about the police budget changes at length. Speakers ranged from police union representatives to the mothers of Daunte Wright and Kobe Dimock-Heisler.
Nothing was decided late Monday night.
At one point, Mayor Mike Elliott proposed pushing a final vote until Dec. 20. Some council members called having a vote right before Christmas “manipulative.”
“This is the kind of thing you’ve done repeatedly, over and over again simply to get just what you want,” said council member Dan Ryan. “I think this is manipulative. This is contrived, when we have a process.”
Council member April Graves, who often is the swing vote on the council, also said she was frustrated.
“If the mayor is not willing to compromise, if it’s his way or not the other way, I do think he’s being manipulative, repeatedly” said Graves. “And I’ve told him that.”
Graves also said council members should get out of their egos and work together.
Mayor Elliott was willing to hold off on a Dec. 20 vote. A work session on the topic is now expected on Thursday night, Dec. 2, with a final vote and a Truth in Taxation hearing on Dec. 6.
You can watch the entire meeting, which was held on Zoom, here.