Minneapolis City Council asks “where are the police?” – just months after calling to defund them

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN – On September 15th, a meeting was held that hosted the Minneapolis City Council to discuss aspects related to police reform.

However, what the meeting turned into was more along the lines of asking “where are the police” as crime is on the rise.

Council members told MPD Chief Medaria Arradondo, during most of the two-hour meeting, that local residents are witnessing the likes of street racing, shameless carjackings in broad daylight, thefts, assaults and even shootings.

The general question being posed by the council was what the police chief was doing to address these ongoing criminal acts being reported.

Jamal Osman, the newly elected Ward 6 council member, said he has been getting flooded with calls and complaints from citizens that were alleging police calls are not being answered:

“Residents are asking, ‘Where are the police’?”

Osman stated that the local police is essentially the lifeline for certain areas within Minneapolis, and those calling for assistance aren’t allegedly being tended to:

“That is the only public safety option they have at the moment. MPD. They rely on MPD. And they are saying they are nowhere to be seen.”

Keep in mind, this line of questioning directed toward Chief Arradondo is coming just months after this very same council was doing all it could to have the MPD defunded and essentially dismantled. Now, after the council having pushed for a non-existent MPD, they seemingly want to know where the police are.

Current times in Minneapolis are not that great, when comparing crime in 2019 to that of crime in the current year.

According to MPD crime statistics, the amount of recorded violent crimes such as assaults, thefts and homicides is up relative to 2019. In the first nine months of 2020, more people have been killed in the area than killed in all of last year.

But it’s not just crimes akin to violence that are on the rise – property crimes have increased as well in the vain of car thefts and residential burglaries. With little surprise, cases of arson have increased by 55% when looking at the number of arson reports in 2019 up to this point.

Chief Arradondo did respond to the inquiries levied by the council, noting that the MPD is working to shift more officers onto patrol duties and investigations as well as trying to crack down on the robberies being reported.

But Council President Lisa Bender implied that officers from the MPD are basically intentionally ignoring calls for assistance when crimes are being reported.

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She alleged that locals had told her that MPD officers had admitted to residents in the area that they’re purposely not enacting arrests of those alleged to have committed crimes.

Bender, who was one of the more vocal critics of the MPD when the calls to defund the department started after the death of George Floyd, further implied that police have always failed to properly enact their duties:

“This is not new. But it is very concerning in the current context.”

Chief Arradondo afforded the diplomatic response of Bender’s accusations against police, saying that it was “troubling to hear” and that he was look into the matter to see if there was any validity to the accusations.

However, other council members noted that MPD officers have complained that they’re not only overworked currently – but that they’re understaffed. Thus far, approximately 100 officers from the MPD have either left the department all together or have taken a leave of absence, according to Chief Arradondo.

To put that into perspective, that’s roughly twice the amount of separations that the department encounters annually.

But areas that typically don’t see that much crime, such as the 11th Ward, which is represented by council member Jeremy Schroeder, are now feeling “terrorized” by the influx of criminal activity. He said a new-found outbreak of robberies of businesses have alarmed and angered locals and business owners at 48th Street and Chicago Road.

The police chief acknowledged those concerns, explaining that a majority of those crimes in that area were being perpetrated by youthful offenders:

“Arrests have been made. There are still some pending charges. Both our juvenile units are pursuing those.”

During the exchange, council member Phillipe Cunningham actually voiced his disdain that his associates were basically asking the police for help when he thought they were all on board with getting rid of the MPD:

“What I am sort of flabbergasted by right now is colleagues, who a very short time ago were calling for abolition, are now suggesting we should be putting more resources and funding into MPD.”

Well, perhaps some of these council members have seen what happens to a lacking police department that has also been demoralized. And obviously, residents don’t seem to be enjoying the spoils of these efforts.

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