MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Some Minneapolis City Council members are responding to the recent uptick in violence amid a push to defund the Minneapolis Police Department.
ShotSpotter technology has tracked more than 1,600 gunshots in Minneapolis in the past 30 days. Nine people were shot within four hours Monday in three separate shootings.
WCCO reached out to council members to find out what they think should be done to stop the violence.
Andrew Johnson represents Ward 12, which includes the area ravaged by riots after the death of George Floyd.
“All of this violence is completely unacceptable,” Johnson said.
He was one of nine city council members that voted to move forward with the process to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department.
“There are folks out there that are committing violent crimes, and clearly even when police are in the area and they’re still willing to shoot,” Johnson said.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey condemned the recent violence and has called for massive reforms, but not completely dismantling the department.
Some community activists called out the city council Monday, and specifically President Lisa Bender for pushing the idea of dismantling MPD.
Council Member Steve Fletcher said he believes the violence shows that the current system is not working. He says violent crime would be better addressed with nonviolent prevention and response tactics. He said he supports the idea of having armed officers for situations where there is an active threat to safety.
“If we get a call that says a thing happened and we need people to come in the aftermath of that thing, we don’t have to respond with force,” Fletcher said. “If we get a call and we say somebody has a gun, we absolutely need to be able to respond with someone who can respond to someone with a gun.”
WCCO reached out to Bender for an interview. She released a statement, saying in part: “Ending violence requires whole community solutions, including community safety strategies that are currently in place but lack resources to cover all of the needs.”