Minneapolis' Lyn-Lake neighbors at odds about police presence

Minneapolis’ Lyn-Lake neighbors experienced moments of tension Monday as they discussed how to deal with an evolving community and modern day policing.

“I want to thank officers for not wearing their badges and blue uniforms," Devlin said.

The community remains divided over how police fit into their neighborhood, with a growing chorus from young adults and many immigrants who've recently moved into the area pushing for a reduction in police patrols.

“I think the police are based on institutions of slavery and protecting white wealth, so I think it’s always been a source of contention for marginalized communities,” Sheila Nezhad said.

Nezhad is one of several residents in the neighborhood who want to ban police officers in uniform from attending association meetings.

“Anytime you bring someone with a gun into a room, it escalates the situation and so I’d rather not have them in our community meetings,” she said.

People gathered to discuss safety in Lyn-Lake and surrounding areas. It's a community that was once infested with gang violence and drug use, but has seen tremendous growth and diverse families.

“The police presence is very important, I believe, in this community,” said resident Van Dickerson.

The meeting was spurred by recent police-involved shootings over the last several years.

Minneapolis Police Inspector Kathy Waite has lived in the neighborhood for a long time. She said that while more work needs to be done to improve community relations--especially among marginalized people--police officers will not be banned from doing their jobs.

No decisions were made Monday, but there are several more meetings planned in the next few weeks.