Minnesota saw a record number of murders and assaults on police officers in 2020, according to a state report released on Wednesday.
Police recorded 185 murders throughout the state in 2020, up from 117 in 2019 and breaking the previous record of 183 set in 1995. There were 667 instances of assaults on an officer or group of officers, up 62 percent from 2019.
Violent crime in Minnesota rose by 16.6 percent from 2019, and police recorded a 15-year high of 223 “bias” crimes motivated by racial, religious, or other discrimination. Of the bias crimes, a plurality of 92 were committed against African Americans.
“Today’s report confirms what we’ve been talking about for several years at the Senate: Violent criminals are finding more victims and lenient accountability measures in the judicial system are not keeping people safe,” Republican Minnesota state senator Warren Limmer commented. Limmer chairs the Senate Public Safety and Judiciary Committee.
The uptick in violent crime came the same year as the massive nationwide demonstrations and riots following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020. Former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin, who was recorded arresting Floyd and kneeling on his neck until he lost consciousness, was convicted on murder and manslaughter charges a year later.
While some Democratic lawmakers called to “defund the police” in the wake of Floyd’s death, the Minneapolis City Council voted to increase the police budget in February to hire new recruits. Dozens of officers retired, resigned, or took extended medical leave following riots in Minneapolis in the summer.