More Violence, Fewer Police Reported in Minneapolis

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Minneapolis has experienced an unprecedented burst of violence after George Floyd’s death, reports the Washington Post. At least 113 people have been shot since May 25, eight fatally, with hundreds of reports of gunfire across the city, including several shootings in broad daylight. The spike in violence has come amid a debate over the role the Minneapolis Police Department should play in addressing crime. Public confidence has so deteriorated that a majority of the City Council has pledged to dismantle the agency. Some residents have accused officers of purposefully curbing response to crime, which police deny. Others have decided to stop using the agency’s services. Mayor Jacob Frey is getting assistance from several regional and federal agencies, including the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the FBI and the Secret Service, to help investigate and stem the bloodshed.

“The violence and lawlessness that we’ve seen … is not acceptable in any form,” Frey said. “We’re going to restore order. We’re going to make sure that people throughout our city feel safe.” After Floyd’s death, scores of residents in the surrounding neighborhood, a progressive area known for its diverse population, said they would no longer call police out of fear they might put more African Americans at risk. In other parts of the city,  plywood put up to protect windows of businesses during demonstrations has been decorated with messages including “Stop Calling the Police.” The Minneapolis City Council has advanced a measure to ask voters in November for a change to the city charter allowing Minneapolis to replace its police department with an agency focused on safety and violence prevention. The proposed agency would employ some officers, though it’s unclear how many. Many residents have noticed a less robust presence from the police department.