$180K reward offered for information on shootings involving three children in police-defunded Minneapolis

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN– In tragic incidents, three children were shot this summer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Two of the children died as a result of their injuries, and one is still recovering. Now, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) has announced a reward of $180,000 in exchange for any information.

According to reports, the reward money is being supplied by Spotlight on Crime and Crime Stoppers of Minnesota, and it is said this is the largest reward they have ever offered in the state.

Six-year-old Aniya Allen and nine-year-old Trinity Ottoson-Smith were both shot in May and died from their gunshot wounds. Ten-year-old Ladavionne Garrett Jr. was shot in April and is still recovering as of Monday, August 9th.

Ladavionne’s mother said during a news conference her son’s recovery hit 100 days on Monday, ABC5 reported.

Officials have said that there are leads in the case, however, without further information and assistance from the public, they are unable to make arrests in any of the children’s cases. 

Sharrie Jennings, Ladavionne’s grandmother, said:

“Where is the safety for our children? This is getting ridiculous in north Minneapolis… there is a shooting every day,” 

Jennings and K.G. Wilson, Aniya’s grandfather, pleaded for people who have information on the shootings to come forward.

Jennings said:

“When is somebody going to say something? We deserve answers. We deserve to know! These were kids shot in the head!” 

Wilson added:

“Nobody’s arrested. Your child could be next,” 

He went on to say:

“That is why not only do we want closure for us and our families, we don’t want your child to be next. So you need to think about that while you’re holding that secret.”

A slew of people attended the the press conference to address this new initiative on Monday, including Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, Department of Public Safety Assistant Commissioner Booker Hodges, BCA Superintendent Drew Evans, Chairman of CrimeStoppers of Minnesota Robert Dennistoun, President of Clear Channel Outdoor in Minneapolis and St. Paul Dan Ballard, and the family of Ladavionne Garrett Jr., Trinity Ottoson-Smith and Aniya Allen.

In addition to the press conference announcement, a billboard campaign is set to begin this week which will advertise the rewards being offered for any information. 

According to the BCA, each of these cases was the result of gun violence allegedly among rival gangs and the three children were unintended targets.

The police department and BCA are hoping the financial reward being offered will motivate someone with information on the shootings to come forward, ABC5 reported

Raeisha Williams, who runs Guns Down Love Up, a community outreach group aiming to prevent violence weighed in on the reward, saying:

“I believe offering a higher reward will help bring justice to the family,” 

Williams said a reward helped solve the murder of her brother, Tyrone Williams, in 2018. She said a few weeks after the announcement of the reward, an anonymous tip came in that led to an arrest and conviction in his case.

Arradondo reiterated that everyone can reach out anonymously, if they choose to. To submit any tips or information regarding any of these children’s cases, you are asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, or submit a tip online. In addition, individuals can contact the BCA at 1-877-996-6222 or submit a tip online.

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As crime explodes in Minneapolis, activists have come one step closer to abolishing the police department

August 9, 2021

This editorial is brought to you by a staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – A ballot measure that will ask voters in Minneapolis in November whether they’d like to see the Minneapolis Police Department replaced with an ambiguously defined “Department of Public Safety” could radically change how policing is conducted in the city – if the ballot measure is successful.

In late July, the Minneapolis City Council approved the ballot question language related to whether voters in the city would like to abolish the Minneapolis Police Department and have that replaced with a “Department of Public Safety”, which this measure will be voted on by residents in the upcoming municipal general election on November 2nd.

This ballot measure that voters in Minneapolis will be deciding on was proposed by the group known as Yes 4 Minneapolis, and the group’s website revolves around advocacy of “changing the charter” – a reference to the Minneapolis City Charter that outlines specifics of policing, such as how many police officers need to be hired.

According to Yes 4 Minneapolis’ website, which boasted that abolishing the MPD is now “on the ballot”, gives the following synopsis of what the “Department of Public Safety” is that the group would like to see replace the MPD:

“The Department of Public Safety will change the current police-only model of public safety, to allow the City of Minneapolis a funded, accountable and comprehensive public health approach to public safety.

This will allow us to be both proactive and responsive to the community, adding a range of strategies, right-sized responses, experts, professional personnel, and licensed peace officers (also known as, police officers), when necessary.”

When reviewing the text of the actual measure that will be presented to voters this November, the primary focus goes into explicit detail on the abolishment of the MPD through amending the City Charter – but only offers vague explanations on what residents in the city would be getting in return post-abolishment of the MPD.

As noted in the “explanatory note” of the ballot measure language, a clear picture is provided on how the MPD will be dismantled – to include much of the powers the mayor held with the police force in Minneapolis – but little more than a concept is what Minneapolis residents will get in return if they vote to approve this measure:

“This amendment would create a new Department of Public Safety, which would:

(1) Combine public safety functions of the City of Minneapolis into a comprehensive public health approach to safety, with the specific public safety functions to be determined.

(2) Include licensed peace officers (police officers) if necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of the Department of Public Safety.

(3) Be led by a Commissioner of Public Safety. The appointment process for the Commissioner would include a Mayor nomination and a City Council appointment. The Mayor would not have complete power over the establishment, maintenance, and command of the Department of Public Safety.

This amendment would also do the following:

(1) Remove from the Charter a Police Department, which includes the removal of its Police Chief, and the removal of the Mayor’s complete power over the establishment, maintenance, and command of the Police Department.

(2) Remove the City Council requirement to fund a police force of at least 1.7 employees per 1,000 residents.

(3) Remove City Council authorization to impose additional taxation on taxable property in the City of Minneapolis of up to 0.3 percent of its value annually to fund the compensation of employees of the police

force.”

As noted in the above “explanatory note” regarding the ballot measure, there’s nothing that really defines what the “Department of Public Safety” would actually do – or look like – with the ballot measure even admitting in its own language that “the specific public safety functions” are “to be determined”.

It’s frankly concerning enough that a ballot measure proposing to literally abolish the police department in Minneapolis will be presented to voters this November, which those voters will undoubtedly be delivered a continuous feed of guilt-inducing propaganda to vote in favor of the measure.

But what makes the matter even worse is that whatever would potentially replace the MPD isn’t even fully articulated by the proponents who managed to get this on the November ballot.

As it stands, this “Department of Public Safety” only notes one element of hierarchical structure (being led by a “Commissioner of Public Safety”), claims the department will only “include licensed peace officers (police officers) if necessary”, and what the department will do is basically “to be determined”.

Not to mention, with this sort of wing-it approach that is being presented by the proponents of the “Department of Public Safety”, it’s not even clear how much it will cost to establish and maintain this vaguely defined department.

Sure, it could perhaps cost less than the current costs associated with the MPD in a monetary sense, but it could also potentially cost even more than the current ticket price imposed on taxpayers for the MPD since such broad terms have been used to explain (or rather, not explain) what the “Department of Public Safety” will do.

This is extremely dangerous to even entertain having come to fruition, because no one in Minneapolis – to include the propagators of this ballot measure – knows what the “Department of Public Safety” will actually be, do, or how it will be structured to accomplish what the crafters of the ballot measure haven’t even adequately defined yet.

Earlier in August, we at Law Enforcement Today shared a report regarding a long-time resident and “peace activist” in Minneapolis who has decided to leave the city after the violent crime in the city hit too close to this man’s home. 

Here’s that previous report. 

_

MINNEAPOLIS, MN– Long time peace activist K.G. Wilson announced that he plans to leave the city after nearly two decades dedicating his life to combating crime on the streets.

Tuesday, August 3rd, marked the city’s 50th homicide and just a few months ago, a shooter claimed the life of Wilson’s 6-year-old granddaughter. He said in a statement:

“I’m done. I’m through and today right here I’m announcing my retirement. I am done as an active peace activist in Minneapolis; this is my end right here so today I say goodby to Minneapolis.”

Wilson has been on the streets combating crime in the community since the early 2000s. He explained:

“I gave my life, put my life on the line to save other lives or to be there for countless other families.”

He has continually worked to keep kids out of gangs and guns off the street, but in mid-May, the gun violence struck home when 6-year-old Aniya Allen was killed by a stray bullet. Aniya was one of three children shot in the span of three weeks amid growing gun violence in Minneapolis and other cities around the country.

Two other children, 10-year-old Ladavionne Garret Jr. and 9-year-old Trinity Ottoson-Smith were also hit by stray bullets. Ladavionne was shot while riding in a car with his parents and Trinity was shot as she was jumping on a trampoline. Wilson said:

“And all I feel like I got in return is a murdered six-year-old granddaughter and no arrests and it’s been two months later.”

He said enough is enough. He described the agony and grief he feels over the lack of justice in the recent shootings that killed his granddaughter and another child. He said:

“All three of them were shot within weeks in the same area and there is no one in jail. Two months.”

He stated that he pleaded with community members to step forward with any information, adding:

“This is it for me, I’ll keep this community … I’ll put it in Gods hands. I am who I am. I’m still who i am, I’m just done here in Minneapolis. I don’t want to work here, I don’t want to be here.”

Before leaving town, Wilson may have saved one more life. Minneapolis police confirmed that a suicidal man was seen running on the Hennepin Avenue Bridge in the early morning hours of August 1st after leaving behind a suicide note.

Wilson said he came upon the man while on an evening walk and now has injuries on his arm and hand to show for it. He added:

“I held him and I held him and I just started talking to him. I said, ‘I can’t let you do it,’ and he’s like, ‘Man, you got to let me go, let me go, you don’t know what happened.’ And I said, I don’t care what happened.”

For 18 years Wilson worked to help make Minneapolis safer, but his story really goes back 19 years. He stated:

“19 years ago I was on that same bridge wanting to jump off that bridge almost in the same spot down there where I saved him from.”

Wilson said he’s given Minneapolis everything he had and now says that it is time for him to move on to a different chapter in his life. 

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