MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - The Minneapolis Police Department said it has enlisted the help of multiple federal law enforcement agencies in an effort to reopen the intersection of East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue and curb the "staggering" levels of crime in that area.
In a news conference Wednesday, Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said the uptick in enforcement at the intersection is intended to "send a message" to a "core group of people" who are primarily responsible for the increase in violent crime there.
"I’m putting them on notice," Arradondo said. "Enough’s enough."
"I refuse to abdicate one city block to a group of individuals who chose violence over peace," Arradondo added.
The area surrounding the intersection has been blocked off to public traffic since George Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody in May. The site where he died has become a community gathering place, but in recent months the area has become a target for crime. Earlier this week a man was charged in a deadly shooting at the intersection.
Last month, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced the intersection would remain closed throughout the Derek Chauvin trial. Wednesday, Arradondo said the intersection’s reopening is important to curb crime there and that it would be "forthcoming."
Arradondo was joined by Acting U.S. Attorney for Minneapolis W. Anders Folk, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Terry Henderson and Special Agent in Charge for the FBI Michael Paul. All three men committed to assisting the MPD with its investigations and any possible federal charges.
The focus, they said, will be individuals committing or conspiring to commit violent crimes with firearms. Arradondo said more police officers will be visible in the area, but that the additional federal resources will be "intelligence-led."
Folk said the gun violence in the area has led to an "understandable fear that is gripping people who live and work [at 38th and Chicago]."
Henderson said the ATF will initiate a "sustained, continuous effort" in the area to investigate violent gun crimes.
In his remarks, Arradondo said the area saw a more than 2,500 percent increase in ShotSpotter activations from 2019 to 2020. The reports of robberies and assaults increased 378 percent in the same time period.
"We are going to restore peace and safety," Arradondo pledged.
Current enforcement at 38th and Chicago
When asked about the current state of police responses in the area of 38th and Chicago, Arrandondo said his patrols have been "constantly working in that area," and that MPD officers will "continue to show up" there.
Arradondo was asked if there is a Minneapolis Police policy to avoid the area, which he refuted. He said "when they call, we are going to show up."
Chief Arradondo has previously said the police response to the area has been "challenging" at times. Residents and business owners have expressed concerns, some saying they feel "forgotten" by the city.
Plans in August to remove the barricades and reopen the intersection were squashed after backlash from activists.
The city is sending out surveys to residents and business owners in the area to choose between two options for reopening the intersection with a permanent memorial for Floyd.