MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey recently met and spoke with locals who are tired of the level of violent crime, specifically gun violence, plaguing the northern end of the city.
— WCCO – CBS Minnesota (@WCCO) May 9, 2021
North Minneapolis community members are reaching a breaking point regarding the spate of shootings that have been taking place in the city.
Community members gathered on May 7th at the site where a 17-year-old was recently shot in the head while they were pumping gas at the AmStar gas station on West Broadway and James Avenue North to address the violence.
Don Samuels was among those who spoke during the gathering, saying the following:
“So we are here to send a message to our young people that this is not how we live. This is not how we want to live.”
Jordan Area Community Council executive director Cathy Spann also spoke out during the gathering, saying:
“I am tired of the gun violence. I’m tired of being a hostage in my home and a hostage in my community.”
Spann wants to address the root issues that are influencing the violence in the city, telling those at-risk to reach out for assistance before getting swept up into the violence:
“If you need a job, talk to us. If you need food, talk to us. What is it? How do we resolve issues without gun violence? What have we become as a community? This is your community but yet we are killing each other.”
Sondra Samuel of the Northside Achievement Zone is among those within the community who believes that it is imperative to collaborate with police and elected officials in order to combat the violent crime:
“We have to work with law enforcement. We have to work with the mayor so we can correct what’s wrong and keep our babies safe.”
New Salem Baptist Church’s Reverend Jerry McAfee believes that much of the troubles the city is facing, in the realm of violent crime, can be traced back to maybe a handful of families:
“I guarantee you in north Minneapolis and south Minneapolis we can probably directly connect almost 70% of the stuff to maybe five or six families.”
Reverend McAfee figures that if these “five or six families” can be identified and extended a proverbial olive branch, then the city may very become all the safer.
In response to the concerns over violent crime, Mayor Jacob Frey announced an impending safety plan that will be rolling out in the coming week:
“Minneapolis, we are going to be partnering with the community. We are going to be partnering with police officers. We are going to be partnering with anybody who wants to prevent violence before it happens.”
Minneapolis City Council Member Phillipe Cunningham, who represents the city’s 4th Ward, recently wrote an email to Mayor Frey expressing frustrations at the gun violence impacting his ward:
“Last night, 78 shots were fired in one incident in my ward. Within a twenty-minute period, there were five other incidents of shots fired throughout the Ward last night, as well. I was informed by constituents that about two hours ago, an Amazon truck was hit with bullets near Loring School. This is just a few of the incidents that have taken place in the last 24 hours in just Ward 4.”
Council Member Cunningham published the email he sent Mayor Frey on Facebook, where Cunningham also mentioned that his constituents in Ward 4 “cannot wait until we have 600 more officers or even just the 200 who have left since last year before something is done.”
The Ward 4 councilmember went on to allege that he feels as though he’s tasked with trying “to solve this gun violence all by myself,” in a scathing characterization of the mayor’s efforts to address violent crime.
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Mayor Frey responded to Cunningham’s email, first acknowledging that he agrees that violent crime needs to be addressed:
“Councilman Cunningham: Thanks so much for the note. I was on the Northside earlier today, at a news conference hosted by community. The message we delivered? Enough is enough. So, we’re aligned on that much.”
However, Mayor Frey also called out Cunningham for pulling what he thought a political stunt by publishing the email on Facebook:
“The rest of your message is insincere at best and shallow political maneuvering at worst. That you published this e-mail immediately upon sending it makes discerning its intent relatively easy.”
Also, Mayor Frey was quick to remind Cunningham about how the councilmember was among those championing the defunding of police:
“Your public commitment to defunding and abolishing the Police Department, your absolute lack of support for adequate police staffing levels (there is a long and clear record here), and your unmitigated inconsistency on this topic have detracted from the essential work at great cost to the city of Minneapolis.”
And Mayor Frey was also not pleased about the allegation that he has left Cunningham essentially out to dry with respect to the violence in Ward 4:
“On a personal level, it is discouraging to see you so overtly centering yourself in this conversation. The notion that you – and you alone – are the one person working to solve this crisis (‘I cannot try to solve this gun violence all by myself’) is an insult to every local elected official, every city staff – from MPD and OVP to 911 dispatchers – and every community member who has poured themselves into this work.”
While the mayor genuinely wants to see the gun violence come to an end in Minneapolis, Mayor Frey’s email response to the Cunninham alleged that he thinks the councilman has no interest to engage in the level of collaboration needed to be a part of the solution:
“I would encourage you to support Chief Arradondo’s request for increased staffing levels moving forward, even where you have opposed such requests in the past. I would be happy to partner with you on developing a plan. Based on my experience attempting to work with you, I do not believe you are interested in doing that.”
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