MINNEAPOLIS — Minneapolis city leaders on Tuesday addressed the July 4th holiday’s multiple shootings and “fireworks wars.”
Mayor Jacob Frey said the “recklessness and callous disregard for residents in our city put a damper on a weekend that should otherwise be celebrated.”
Hundreds of people gathered Monday night at Boom Island Park and the Stone Arch Bridge, all while cars drove through the Mill District shooting off fireworks at buildings and people.
By the end of the night, at least 10 people had been hurt by the violence.
Leaders with the Minneapolis Police Department said they didn’t know ahead of time about what would happen, so officer staffing was at typical levels.
Some neighbors who watched fireworks scream through the streets of downtown for hours said it felt like the city didn’t have a plan for the holiday.
“It built into quite a chaotic scene with fast and furious donuts in the street, cars going in excess of 60 miles per hour,” said Mike, who lives near Stone Arch Bridge.
Bruce, another neighbor, said he hadn’t felt fear from crime in the city until Monday night.
“[It] was the first time I was like, ‘This is crazy and could go to a really bad place,'” he said.
When police did come to their neighborhood after several 911 calls from residents, they couldn’t clear out the groups in the street, who neighbors saw taunting officers.
“You’re sending [officers] in where they’re just outnumbered by droves, and that’s the concern,” Mike said.
The number of active officers in MPD is down more than 150 from the required minimum.
about 80 officers were on duty Monday night, no more than a typical shift.
“The Monday of a long weekend is generally not viewed as being the most resource-intensive,” said Deputy Chief Erick Fors.
Frey said officers were playing whack-a-mole with more than 1,300 calls to 911 from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. That’s the volume of a typical day.
Hundreds of people were gathered at multiple locations, including Boom Island Park, where seven people were shot.
“One of the primary ways that we can minimize these incidents is look at ways to deny access to these areas for folks to gather after hours,” Huffman said.
At least two more were shot elsewhere in the city.
Police have reported one arrest from the night, when an officer was assaulted and took minor injuries.
City Council Member Michael Rainville, who represents the neighborhood near Stone Arch Bridge, told WCCO he believes the city should be asking for help from the National Guard as long as MPD isn’t at full staffing levels.
A spokesperson for Mayor Frey says they will not be doing that at this time, but the city welcomes assistance and support from other law enforcement agencies.
Frey says everyone in the city has a responsibility to improve safety, including city leadership, MPD, and people in the community.
“If you’re the parents of children that were out [Monday night] you need to know where they are,” Frey said. “If you have friends that were involved in some of this horrible conduct, you need to be setting them straight.”
Frey says a commissioner for the Office of Community Safety will be brought on in the next week.
Source: CBS Minnesota