MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - When Trahern Pollard heard that Minnesota’s Attorney General was opening an investigation into violence surrounding the businesses of Merwin Liquors and Winner Gas Station, he was not at all shocked.
"I wasn’t surprised at all. My only surprise is why it take so long?" Pollard, the CEO of ‘We Push For Peace' told FOX 9. "I know Keith Ellison very well. Great deal of respect for Keith, and it was just a matter of time and the time is now."
We Push For Peace is a community organization that works not only as security for businesses, but intervention and outreach for those in the community that may be causing problems.
The organization was hired by Merwin Liquor on Thursday to begin working the store, both as security and as staff, in the hours after Ellison’s announcement it was being investigated as to its role in continued gun violence and drug dealing along Broadway in North Minneapolis.
The AG also named Winners Gas Station as a business that may be permitting crimes to occur and doing nothing about it. Several shootings have happened outside both stores in the past several weeks and neighbors have demanded they be shut down due to ongoing problems.
"I’m not personally just the answer, let’s be clear," Pollard said. "It’s going to take all of us working together collectively to have an impact."
Pollard said they’ve been talking with Merwin Liquor for the past few months and have done some outreach work at the store, but the results don’t last long. They make connections with those who hang out outside the store, but were never there day in and day out.
"It’s just been inconsistent," said Pollard. "Again, we’d go do something impactful, and then we wouldn’t go back over there for maybe a week or two."
He said the problem with repeated shootings outside the stores is that by allowing people to just congregate there, they create a target for rivals. But, he says, getting the crowd to stop gathering at one store is not the answer. They all need to work in concert, or the problems just move around.
"I plan to reach out to Sanctuary, to Winners, to the other businesses that’s in the strip mall, like how can we work together to combat this problem, period. That’s my only objective," Pollard says.