Minneapolis officials announce new community safety model following violent weekend

Minneapolis police and city officials announced a new model for community safety and accountability following a violent weekend in the city. 

At a press conference Monday afternoon, Mayor Jacob Frey outlined a four-point plan that starts with an immediate response to the gun violence on the streets. He also announced targeted uses for the federal rescue dollars that are flowing into the city from congress. Additionally, he wants more police accountability and training reforms. Finally, he called for a safety plan beyond policing that involves more community groups.

"The new plan will outline plans to immediately and directly address the present spike in violent crime; critical investment in prevention, intervention, and enforcement strategies; affirm a steadfast commitment to community-led work and deeper partnerships to address root causes of crime; and announce local policy and training changes within the department to continue shifting the culture and instilling accountability," according to a news release. 

The announcement comes after a series of incidents in Minneapolis left 11 people hurt over the past few days, including a drive-by shooting that sent a young girl to the hospital. Police said the child was jumping on a backyard trampoline on Saturday when she was shot in the head. The girl was so critically injured that officers put her in a squad car and drove her to the hospital themselves. The Minneapolis Police Department reports 19 children have been injured by gunfire so far this year. 

Community leaders, including Sondra Samuels from the Northside Achievement Zone who spoke after the mayor, also asked where is the outrage from people who live in the city.

"I am going to say the names because the protesters aren’t here saying the names of Trinity, who was shot in the head on my block down the street from my house Saturday night," said Samuels. "I’m saying her name. Where are the other people?  I guess we’re not saying her name because a white police officer didn’t shoot here in the head."  

Samuels was not the only one raising that issue. Bishop Richard Howell from Shiloh Temple got lots of applause when he demanded that children should not be shot for wanting to jump on a trampoline. The grandmother of a young boy, who was recently shot in the head in Minneapolis, also called for the city to do better.

Absent from the mayor's news conference in north Minneapolis, were the council members who represent that area. The mayor acknowledged their divergent opinions on how to best protect the city. However, those council members say they weren’t even invited.

"To imply that somehow their absence meant that they didn’t care after they didn’t invite them was a cheap cynical political play and I really resent it," said Council member Steve Fletcher.

Fletcher says he wasn’t even he sent a copy of the proposal, accusing the mayor of politicizing the situation.

"We owe them real solutions," said Fletcher. "Standing up and holding a press conference that doesn’t really offer anything isn’t helping the problem. It isn’t saving anybody. It isn’t helping anybody."

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo admitted this afternoon that he department is challenged with one-third of his officers having left the force after the death of George Floyd.

For this plan to pass, it needs majority council support.