‘Defunded’ Minneapolis to bring in outside help to deal with surge in violence amid police shortage


MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has asked for outside agencies to help police the cities following a weekend of bloodshed and violence in a city grappling with a shortage of officers and increasing violent crime.

At a news conference Sunday, the Mayor said that reinforcements for the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) are “”really, really critical”:

“Safety in our city has to be a priority.”

Minneapolis has lost numerous officers to resignations and early retirements in response to defunding efforts in the city following the May 2020 death of George Floyd. 

Two months after Floyd’s death, 200 police officers out of the roughly 850 officers serving in the MPD filed paperwork to leave their jobs with the department.

About 20% of the department, or around 150 officers, filed for disability claims for PTSD following months of violent protests and rioting in Minneapolis.

Ron Meuser, Jr. from the law firm Meuser, Yackley and Rowland told reporters previously:

“While law enforcement is a high-stress career, the last two months in Minneapolis have pushed many officers to their breaking point.”

In response to protests by groups like Black Lives Matter, the Minneapolis city council voted to cut $8 million in funding from the police department in December, and some argued to completely close the department in the city of 420,000 people.

The $8 million cut from the police budget was to be used for crime prevention programs, mental health crisis response teams and other initiatives.

Due to a shortage of police officers following the 200 departures, the Minneapolis City Council approved a request for $6.4 million to be used to hire new recruits.

Adding to the manpower issues in the city, Minnesota reported a “25-year-low” in new recruits join police agencies across the state.

Shakopee Police Chief Jeff Tate blamed the recruiting problems on low morale:

“Police work is essential work, service-driven, and my fear is that the current environment is just so toxic that those quality, idealistic, service-driven people that we desperately need to fill these vacancy roles in law enforcement are going to look elsewhere.”

The shortage of officers comes as violence spirals out of control.  The Mayor’s call for outside help followed a weekend of violence that killed a least four people, including a college senior who was out celebrating graduation.

The weekend’s victims also included two men believed to have been struck by gunfire on the North Side and two men killed in a mass downtown shooting: one of the suspected gunmen and the above college student, whose family said was “an innocent bystander.”

University of St. Thomas student Charlie Johnson was out Saturday with friends, celebrating his graduation scheduled for the next day. Just before 2 a.m., gunfire erupted downtown as Johnson and his friends were walking home.

They were hit by stray gunfire, according to his father, Greg Johnson:

“He was a ray of sunshine without a mean bone in his body. (He) left a beautiful impact on every single life he touched.”

Johnson asked for calm, and to keep politics out of the discussion on ending violence:

“No politics please. Just love and compassion for each other as Charlie had for all of us. I AM CHARLIE!”

Police said that the incident began when shots were fired when two men got into a “verbal altercation” at a bar at closing time. In addition to the two bystanders killed, eight other people were injured in the shooting.

The second shooter was taken into custody and booked for suspicion of murder. He has not been identified by authorities.

Prior to this weekend, the city has had 31 homicides in 2021.

On Sunday, relatives of three children killed in the city gathered outside City Hall offering a reward for information leading to the arrests and convictions in their cases. The group called for peace in the city and for more police officers on the streets.

Randy Ottoson, grandfather of nine-year-old Trinity Ottoson-Smith who was shot and killed while jumping on a trampoline in his yard, said:

We need more police officers. There is no doubt in my mind. I’m praying for all of these families but, you know what, I’m praying for the next people too.”

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Little girl, 9, shot in the head during another violent weekend in police-defunded Minneapolis

May 17, 2021


MINNEAPOLIS, MN – A 9-year-old girl is currently in critical condition after being reportedly shot in the head while she was jumping on a trampoline during the evening of May 15th.

The shooting of the young girl was one of many violent incidents that occurred over the weekend in Minneapolis.

A crowd of several dozen people had gathered outside of the North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale to pray for the recovery of 9-year-old Trinity Smith who was shot while playing with some friends during the evening of May 15th.

Minneapolis Police spokesman John Elder noted that the young girl was still listed as being in critical condition as of the evening of May 16th.

Authorities say that the incident happened at approximately 8:30 p.m. on the evening of May 15th, with the shooter driving a red four-door Ford that had opened fire at a residence while driving down the 2200 block of Ilona Avenue North.

Trinity’s father, Raishawn Smith, believes his daughter had somehow got “caught in the crossfire” of some other incident:

“She didn’t deserve it. She was doing what innocent kids do. She was caught in the crossfire of senseless violence.”

Just two weeks earlier, 10-year-old Ladavionne Garrett Jr. was shot while inside of a vehicle, which the young boy is still in critical condition at the same hospital where Trinity is being cared for. The parents of Ladavionne stood outside with Smith during the prayer circle that had formed outside of the hospital on May 16th.

Minneapolis City Council Member Phillipe Cunningham took to Twitter following the shooting of the young girl to criticize Mayor Jacob Frey for not doing enough to address the gun violence impacting the northern end of the city.

A statement from the mayor’s office noted that Mayor Frey is currently meeting with community leaders in north Minneapolis about issues impacting the area, while offering prayers for the family of the young girl critically injured over the weekend:

“Mayor Frey’s heart is with the family as they pray for their daughter’s recovery.”

The war of words between Mayor Frey and Cunningham regarding the issue on how to address gun violence in Minneapolis has been an ongoing feud, which we at Law Enforcement Today have covered previously.

The shooting incident that injured Trinity was just one of many violent incidents that transpired in Minneapolis during the weekend of May 15th and 16th.

According to MPD spokesman Elder, two groups of Minneapolis Police officers were attacked the over the weekend after responding to various calls for service.

In one incident, officers were called to the scene of a reported group of drivers that were allegedly racing an engaging in “exhibition driving” near Hennepin and Lagoon Avenues at approximately 1:00 a.m. on May 16th.

Officers had reportedly instructed the crowd to disperse, which resulted in some people embedded within the crowd throwing various objects at the officers. Reportedly, two officers were taken to an area hospital for treatment of injuries following the incident.

Roughly one hour after that incident, a fight had broken out at a downtown bar that was closing where at least one individual was reported as being stabbed during the brawl.

When officers responded to the bar, they had located at least two people that had suffered “substantial head wounds,” and reportedly some of the people inside of the bar had physically fought with the responding officers.

One officer was reportedly struck with a large stick while other officers were sprayed with a chemical irritant.

MPD spokesman Elder stated that at least five people wound up being arrested or cited in connection to the bar room brawl. The civilians with reported head injuries and one officer were transported to an area hospital for treatment.

According to Elder, incidents involving civilians attacking police officers are becoming more common within the city:

“We are seeing more and more people that are being confrontational with law enforcement. The fact of the matter is it’s unlawful and it’s criminal behavior and people will be arrested as the opportunity arises.”

Also, during the morning of May 16th, three people were reportedly shot while standing in front of a business located within the 1700 block of East Lake Street. The victims were described as two males and one female that were taken to an area hospital for noncritical injuries.

Hours after the reported shooting incident, authorities located a male subject that was reportedly covered in blood nearby Girard and Lowry Avenues North. Officials say that he was transported to an area hospital, having suffered non-life threatening injuries from a reported gunshot wound. 

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