Minneapolis turns down $300,000 federal grant to counter extremism
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently approved a $300,000 grant for the Minneapolis Health Department to counter violent extremism. Specifically, it would have used a public health approach to intervene with teenagers and young adults who might be vulnerable to indoctrination from known terrorist organizations such as white supremacy groups, ISIS and others.
However, the Minneapolis City Council decided to not accept the grant because the chamber lacked the two-thirds majority support needed to approve it.
City Council Public Health and Safety Committee Chair LaTrisha Vetaw told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS she was “disappointed” the council rejected the money for the health department because it would have followed the city’s plan to use more public health methods to combat extremism and crime rather than using Minneapolis police.
“It was, again, the public health approach to these sorts of things,” Vetaw said. “And I thought that’s what we were all on board for — looking at different ways, you know, to tackle some of the issues, especially around public safety in our community.”
There were some on the City Council who opposed acceptance of the grant money because, in their opinion, it would unfairly target people of color and specific communities that did not include white supremacist groups.
City Council Member Elliott Payne said addressing white extremist groups should be part of any grant money the city accepts.
“That’s terror. And this grant does not address this type of terrorism at all. It’s not focused on that type of issue at all,” Payne said.
City Council Member Aisha Chughtai said federal grants, in the past, have negatively affected minority communities.
“It turns into hyper-surveillance. it means our kids are watched like they are a problem and like they’ve committed crimes,” Chughtai said. “And we shouldn’t do that. We should not re-live what happened to our community again and again and again.”