MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Since an investigation into Merwin Liquors and Winner Gas Station was announced, violence and drug sales have "significantly decreased" in the area, according to Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.
Ellison, Minneapolis City’s Attorney’s Office and the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office launched a joint investigation into the extensive criminal activity reported at the Minneapolis street corner which they say was permitted or maintained by Merwin Liquors and Winner Gas Station.
After the announcement of the joint investigation, Ellison said during a press conference Thursday that the reports of violence and other illegal activity have "significantly decreased."
Merwin Liquors started transitioning the store to a new owner who indicated they engaged in interrupting violence on the property. Winner Gas Station also started making sure people who were on their property were there for actual business reasons.
"I’m using the powers of my office to take new approaches to stemming the epidemic of gun violence, like using civil law to hold companies accountable for illegal behavior in their businesses or on their properties that can spiral out of control and threaten a whole community," Attorney General Ellison said in a statement. "I applaud companies that take responsibility for the condition of their premises and the duty they owe their customers to be safe and feel safe. For those that don’t take steps to stem violence and illegal activity on their property, my office will be there to ensure all Minnesotans feel safe in their neighborhood."
Ellison's office first announced a nuisance investigation against Merwin and Winner in September 2022 as part of a "comprehensive approach to public safety that includes using civil and criminal law." Then in October 2022, Ellison determined that unlawful public nuisance activity is occurring on their properties in violation of Minnesota law.
The investigation followed calls from the community for something to be done after repeated violent crimes that happen in front of the businesses, located near the intersection of North Lyndale Avenue and West Broadway Avenue.
While the decrease in crime is a step in the right direction, Ellison said they will continue to monitor the properties for any illegal activities and warned the investigating agencies will "not hesitate to take additional enforcement action if reports of nuisance activity at the properties resume."