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Minneapolis approves $6.4M budget to recruit more police officers after ‘defund the police’ effort flops

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The Minneapolis City Council voted Friday to approve a request from the Minneapolis Police Department for an additional funding budget of $6.4 million.

In June, the Minneapolis City Council approved a motion to abolish the city’s police force in a 12-0 vote, with a plan to replace the police with a “Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention.” It was in response to pressure following the death of George Floyd.

An unprecedented number of Minneapolis police officers quit or went on extended medical leave after Floyd’s death and the unrest that followed, which included the burning of a Minneapolis police precinct.

According to the Minneapolis Police Department, only 638 officers have been available to work, which is roughly 200 fewer than usual.

The new funding will be used to hire and train new officers. The city anticipates it will have 674 officers available by the end of the year, with another 28 in the hiring process.

According to Fox News, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said that the application process will be updated to include questions about whether applicants have lived in Minneapolis, have degrees in criminology, social work, psychology or counseling, and whether they volunteer or participate in programs such as the Police Activities League.

Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy

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Biden frees Venezuelan President Maduro’s drug dealing relatives in prisoner swap

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President Biden freed two of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s relatives Saturday in exchange for seven jailed Americans. The two nephews of Maduro’s wife Cilia Flores, had been convicted in the United States for drug dealing and sentenced to 18 years in prison, according to the BBC.

According to the report, the swap was in exchange for five American oil executives. Those Americans were “exchanged for two of Mr Maduro’s wife’s nephews, who were serving 18-year sentences in the US on drug charges,” the officials told the BBC. Maduro’s nephews were convicted under the Trump administration and the Venezuelan government claims that they were “unjustly” jailed in the United States.

In a statement from the White House Saturday, Biden said the American’s were  “wrongfully detained.”  He said the American’s  would soon be reunited with their relatives, according to reports.

“Today, we celebrate that seven families will be whole once more. To all the families who are still suffering and separated from their loved ones who are wrongfully detained – know that we remain dedicated to securing their release,” the Biden statement added.

Meanwhile, 13 Republican members of Congress sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, requesting more information on “the intelligence report” that alleges Maduro is emptying his prisons and allowing them to head to the United States in the caravans that crossing the porous border.

The letter states that the report warns Border Patrol agents to be on the look-out for “violent criminals from Venezuela among the migrant caravans heading towards the U.S.-Mexico border.”

“It has been widely reported that the Venezuelan regime, under the control of Nicolás Maduro Moros, is deliberately releasing violent prisoners early, including inmates convicted of ‘murder, rape, and extortion,’ and pushing them to join caravans heading to the United States,” the letter states.

You can follow Sara A. Carter on Twitter @SaraCarterDC.

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