MINNEAPOLIS, MN– In the wake of George Floyd’s death and protests against racism and police brutality in cities spanning from coast to coast, Minneapolis continues to see unprecedented gun violence in its city.
According to Star Tribune, at least 275 people have been victims of shootings in Minneapolis so far this year. This devastating number surpasses the entire annual totals of all but two years of the last 10 years. Those two exceptions are 2016 and 2017 when 280 and 341 people were shot.
Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) records show that 269 people were shot in total in all of 2019. As of July 2020, the city has already surpassed that total. Records also show that the shooting tally is nearly 60% higher than the five-year average for this time of the year.
The city typically sees a spike in gun violence every year during the summer months, not only because of the hot weather that draws more people outside, but because the summer months have many death anniversaries of slain-high profile gang members.
However, this year’s gun violence began earlier, dating back to the unrest after George Floyd’s death. Additionally, the city’s 37 homicides have nearly doubled since this time last year. The 37th homicide happened Thursday, July 23rd.
According to Star Tribune, the 17-year-old boy was shot to death on Minneapolis’ South Side. Police responded to a report of shots fired just after 6 p.m. in the area of 35th Street and S. Chicago Avenue, several blocks north of the George Floyd memorial site.
As the officers arrived on scene, they found the 17-year-old boy suffering from at least one gunshot wound. One of the officers started CPR and the victim was transported to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Police say a 17-year-old died after being shot outside a store in south Minneapolis Thursday.https://t.co/vS8xqNcebo
— KARE 11 (@kare11) July 24, 2020
The victim’s name was not immediately released and no one has yet been arrested for his death.
The news of these astonishing numbers came the day after the Minneapolis City Council cut $1.5 million from the MPD’s annual $193 million budget. On Friday, the announcement of the budget cut detailed that most of the money will be diverted to the Office of Violence Prevention.
Accordingly, the Office of Violence Prevention may use the money to fund a program patterned after the Cure Violence program that uses trusted messengers to mediate street conflicts and persuade high-risk youth to take a different path.
As the City Council approved to slash the $1.5 million, police officials and community leaders are continuing to search for solutions to the gun violence problem. Some of these solutions involved the department combining several investigative units to form the Gun Violence Response Unit, which is focused on getting guns off the streets.
Since the unit began working, court filings show that authorities are close to solving several of the recent shootings, including the June 21st running gun battle in Uptown in which more than 70 rounds were fired and 11 people were injured. Police also said they are on track to top last year’s total of 946 recovered guns.
Police supervisors have reshuffled staff to add numbers to their patrol division and cover gaps created by recent departures. To help combat the crime spike, Police Chief Medario Arradondo and Mayor Jacob Frey have sought help from federal law enforcement agencies including the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms as well as the Secret Service.
It is not uncommon for larger cities to partner with federal government agencies. Kyle Loven, a former FBI agent who left the bureau after 22 years to join a Minneapolis-based digital forensics firm said in a statement:
“The FBI has a lot of technology as it’s disposal that it can bring to bear to assist local departments. The FBI can add considerable manpower and crime-fighting technology.”
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Here is another article from Law Enforcement Today about the surge in violence in Minneapolis:
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Gun violence and other acts of deadly violence are ripping their way through Minneapolis as Black Lives Matter protests continue.
Police say 111 people have been shot in the four weeks since George Floyd was killed in an encounter with four Minneapolis police officers. Last weekend, there was a mass shooting in Uptown that left one man dead and 11 other people wounded.
Gunmen unleashed a torrent of bullets in one of the city’s most violent shootings to date.
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo called the carnage “tragic and senseless.”
Minneapolis Mayor Frey, police chief Arradondo address recent shootings in city https://t.co/mIUoU2Zufn
— KSTP (@KSTP) June 23, 2020
Arradondo also said that the overnight mayhem “had no connection to the May 25 death of George Floyd.”
The violence continued into Monday where there were three separate afternoon shootings on the North Side that left nine people injured. Two people were also stabbed, one fatally, in the 500 block of Nicollet downtown Monday afternoon.
In a statement the Chief said:
“This cannot become our normal. The numbers are absolutely unacceptable.”
Minneapolis has not confirmed a connection between the various shootings, but Chief Arradondo said:
“The numbers that we are seeing, it’s a public health crisis and so we are going to need all stakeholders to step up and be part of the discussions for solutions.”
VJ Smith, the national president of MAD DADS , a crime prevention and youth development organization, agrees that it will take a collaboration between police and community organizations who can reach out to youth.
“We have to get those guns, we have to get those individuals who have guns so we can make our city safe again. There is some kind of war going on between individuals and we know that, so that I believe spilled off into this event.”
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo on Sunday called the recent surge in gun violence "a public health crisis," and he urged collaboration from community organizations to come up with a solution. https://t.co/kJcnPp1kDK
— KSTP (@KSTP) June 22, 2020
Trahern Pollard, founder of We Push for Peace voiced his support for Chief Arradondo:
“The approach that law enforcement is taking, I Respect them…they’re working hand in hand with community organizations and I think that’s the exact way to go.
“It’s time for these young brothers and sisters to take a hard look in the mirror because it is totally a bigger picture…we’re three weeks removed from George Floyd being murdered and we’re out here having these random acts of random gunfire and guys, that’s not the answer.”
In response to these continued acts of horrendous violence, Mayor Jacob Frey announced details behind a multiagency effort to quell the bloodshed that has persisted over the past several weeks.
“The violence and lawlessness that we’ve seen the last few days is not acceptable in any form…residents, businesses and all that choose to be in Minneapolis for any reason deserve to feel safe.
The fresh violence only compounds our grief over Floyd’s death…the lawlessness serves no purpose and it won’t be tolerated.”
— FOX 9 (@FOX9) June 22, 2020
The Mayor also called the recent shootings, “totally a distraction from the work we need on the structural police reforms we need to do.”
Chief Arradondo declined to reveal how the other agencies will interact with his department, but he said it would include being a visible presence as well as providing intelligence. The city has already requested assistance from several other jurisdictions, including the Heneepin County Sherriff’s Office, the ATF, the FBI, Metro Transit, and the Minnesota State Patrol.
From last Friday night to Monday evening, at least 30 people were shot in multiple shootings across the city. Chief Arradondo called for unity, saying it’s “all hands-on deck” and asking the members of the public to come forward with information on the shootings if they have any tips.
Here’s more on the mass shooting from last weekend.
Quick! Send some social workers! CBS Minnesota is reporting that one person has died, and 11 others are injured after a shooting early this morning on the 2900 block of Hennepin Avenue South.
A person has been killed and eleven more injured in a shooting in Minneapolis https://t.co/9Qw3eSuInZ
— Kim Young🏐 (@mysitc_celtic81) June 21, 2020
On arrival, officers found several people who had suffered gunshot wounds. Police officials told CBS Minnesota that an unknown number of people on foot started shooting indiscriminately. The scene was chaotic with people running away from the gunfire.
🚨🇺🇸 At least 1 dead and 11 wounded in a #shooting in #Minneapolis. According to the #police. The deceased victim is male. The attack took place in a neighborhood full of bars and restaurants. #USA #Trump
(from @FranceNews24 ) pic.twitter.com/3CHz0LW5CD
— NewsFlash (@NewsFlash_2020) June 21, 2020
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune said that the 11 people who were shot were being treated at various hospitals around the city, suffering from what was described as “various severity levels of injuries.”
The deceased victim, who remains unidentified was described only as a man. According to hospitals, all of the victims were adults.
Nope, they don't need police in Minneapolis. https://t.co/fmMdBm6WzQ
— Mike (@MDKnight2016) June 21, 2020
Police said that they did not yet have a motive for the shootings, other than people were apparently “shooting each other.”
The incident began at approximately 12:37 a.m. Sunday morning when police officers were dispatched to reports of gunfire at the Hennepin Avenue location. On arrival, police said, they found numerous victims on-scene, while some had been removed in “private vehicles.”
Emergency officials dispatched several ambulances to the scene. Police told the Star-Tribune that no suspects had yet been arrested.
A Facebook Live video of the carnage was posted by a man named K.G. Wilson, who is a longtime peace activist. The video showed several bystanders who were providing aid to some of the victims. The area where the shootings occurred is in the city’s entertainment district on the South Side.
The outlet reported that in the hours after the shooting, the scene was generally clear, with only a man and woman sitting together looking through their phones.
Employees and security guards from a Korean BBQ restaurant were seen sweeping up broken glass from windows that were shot out during the melee.
The area had just returned to somewhat of a sense of normalcy after having businesses shuttered during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Police said that Hennepin Avenue had actually been partially blocked off to allow for the large crowds. The paper said that when the gunfire started, patrons of one of the bars began diving to the floor as gunshots ripped through the area.
One person who was identified as a victim was a 23-year-old female, whose mother Alyssa Tyson was waiting to hear word outside Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), where her daughter Taija was being treated after being shot twice. One bullet struck her femur, while the other grazed her arm, Tyson said.
Tyson said that her daughter, who works as a personal care assistant, went to the area with a male companion, who she said was also shot, with the bullet passing close to his spine, she said.
Tyson said that she was asleep when she received a call from her son telling her that Taija had been shot. She received a second, and a third call and drove down to HCMC. She said a friend of her daughters told her there had been “like 80 shots.”
Tyson said she was shocked when she was informed how many people had been wounded in the shooting.
“I’m pretty much speechless,” she said. “That’s a lot of people’s lives that are about to be changed, and for one person, that’s no more Christmases, no more birthdays.”
Sunday morning’s incident is just one in a spate of shootings across Minneapolis over the past few days, with police saying that 19 people have been shot during that time frame.
Since George Floyd was killed late last month, police say over 90 people have been shot in the city.
It’s not surprising that not only in Minneapolis, but in other cities such as Baltimore, violent crime has spiked over the past few weeks. While there isn’t a specific attribution for why this is occurring, some have suggested one of two things—lack of “police legitimacy” in the wake of the nationwide protests over Floyd’s death—or police are being less proactive in the wake of public criticism of police, and, in the case of Atlanta, Georgia, officers being criminally charged for protecting themselves.
Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder dismissed the suggestion that police officers in the city are showing less initiative.
“That is categorically false,” he said. “Our officers are still responding to calls, they are still addressing calls, and the fact that anybody would think that there is a stand-down order or some sort of work stoppage, that is patently false.”
Anti-police zealots in Minneapolis and across the country have suggested defunding police departments in the wake of the Floyd killing, with the city council in Minneapolis actually voting to disband that department.
It has been suggested that money directed toward police could be diverted to other areas, such as social workers, with the idea that social workers could respond to some calls instead of police.
Social workers responding to a call where 12 people were shot would probably not work out too well.
We will update this story as additional information becomes available.
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