The meeting was slated as a Minneapolis City Council study session on police reform.
But for much of the two-hour meeting, council members told police Chief Medaria Arradondo that their constituents are seeing and hearing street racing which sometimes results in crashes, brazen daylight carjackings, robberies, assaults and shootings. And they asked Arradondo what the department is doing about it.
"Residents are asking, ‘Where are the police’?” said Jamal Osman, newly elected council member of Ward 6. He said he's already been inundated with complaints from residents that calls for police aren’t being answered.
“That is the only public safety option they have at the moment. MPD. They rely on MPD. And they are saying they are nowhere to be seen,” Osman said.
Just months after leading an effort that would have defunded the police department, City Council members at Tuesday’s work session pushed chief Medaria Arradondo to tell them how the department is responding to the violence.
The number of reported violent crimes, like assaults, robberies and homicides are up compared to 2019, according to MPD crime data. More people have been killed in the city in the first nine months of 2020 than were slain in all of last year. Property crimes, like burglaries and auto thefts, are also up. Incidents of arson have increased 55 percent over the total at this point in 2019.
For his part, Arradondo told council members that the department has instituted several measures, including adding more officers to patrol and investigative duties and cracking down on robberies.
But council members told Arradondo that residents are hearing a different message from officers.
Council President Lisa Bender, who was among those leading the call to overhaul the department, suggested that officers were being defiant. Her constituents say officers on the street have admitted that they’re purposely not arresting people who are committing crimes.
“This is not new,” Bender said. “But it is very concerning in the current context.”
Arradondo told Bender this was “troubling to hear,” and that he would raise that issue with commanders and the heads of each precinct.
“We need to make sure that our communities know that we are going to be there,” said Arradondo. “That we’re going to be responsive. We’ve taken an oath to do that.”
Other council members said officers are telling residents that they are ov... (Read more)
Submitted 74 days ago